Lawyer pleads to obstruction, is disbarred: Update
By DEUCE NIVEN
Dec. 14 update
A brief court appearance with guilty pleas to misdemeanor obstruction charges ended separate criminal investigations into attorney Randy Lemay Cartrette on Monday.
Felony charges leveled against the former assistant district attorney last week, and one from last year, were dropped as part of a plea deal. Superior Court Judge Joe Crosswhite sentenced Cartrette to suspended sentences of 45 days in prison, 30 hours community service, two years probation, and fined him $200.
Cartrette, 41, of the Roseland Community near Tabor City, agreed to a voluntary disbarment in North Carolina and has closed his Whiteville law office, his attorney Harold “Butch” Pope said.
Court appointed criminal cases assigned to Cartrette have all been assigned to Tabor City attorney Misty Jorgenson, Pope said.
Cartrette, in his plea, admitted to forging a court document in July 2014 to recall orders of arrest for his clients.
An indictment last Wednesday charged Cartrette with five felony counts of obstruction of justice and followed an SBI investigation that focused on Cartrette improperly obtaining limited driving privileges for his clients through the courts in Columbus County, an SBI spokesman said.
In recent cases that were dismissed, Pope said, the state alleged that Cartrette submitted paperwork on behalf of clients seeking a limited driving privilege, certifying that they had satisfied state mandated conditions that they, in fact, had not.
Cartrette offered his apologies “to his family, to the court, to the bar, and to the community,” Pope said.
Pope described Cartrette as “a pleaser,” and said he ran afoul of the law trying to please clients. Pope described medical conditions Cartrette struggles with, including attention deficit disorder, that may have contributed to the decisions he made.
“That’s not to excuse him,” Pope said, “but maybe to explain him better.”
For more on this story see Wednesday’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.
Five new obstruction of justice charges have been leveled against an attorney in Columbus County already awaiting trial on similar charges in a 2014 case, an SBI spokesman said Wednesday.
Randy Lemay Cartrette, 41, of the Roseland Community near Tabor City, is charged in an indictment handed up by a Columbus County grand jury in Whiteville earlier Wednesday with five felony counts of obstruction of justice, SBI spokesman Shannon O’Toole said.
Cartrette surrendered himself at the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office in Whiteville Wednesday afternoon, and was released under a $100,000 unsecured bond, O’Toole said.
His latest charges follow an SBI investigation that focused on Cartrette improperly obtaining limited driving privileges for his clients through the courts in Columbus County, O’Toole said.
Cartrette’s attorney, Harold Pope, was not available Wednesday afternoon, but has previously said he would not comment on the investigation or charges against his client pending trial.
Cartrette is scheduled to appear in Superior Court Monday in the 2014 case, O’Toole said, and may address the new charges at that time, O’Toole said.
In the earlier case Cartrette was accused of forging a court document on July 8, 2014, to recall an order of arrest for one of his clients.
Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee, who made the decision to seek charges against Cartrette, will prosecute both cases at the request of Columbus County District Attorney Jon David. Some members of David’s staff are potential witnesses against Cartrette, the prosecutor said previously.
For more on this story check back here and see next week’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.