North Carolina Bar hears complaint against innocence attorney

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Chris Mumma, champion of the wrongly accused, has been accused of lawyer misconduct (WTVD)

The North Carolina State Bar is holding a hearing Monday for attorney Chris Mumma, director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence.

The Bar accuses her of violating rules of professional conduct for attorneys in the case of Joseph Sledge, who served almost 40 years for a double murder he didn't commit.

The complaint says that Mumma violated rules as she pursued DNA testing on a water bottle that had been in the home of family members of men who she thought might be guilty of the murders of Josephine and Aileen Davis, a mother and daughter from Bladen County who were stabbed to death in 1976.

Sledge, who was convicted of those murders in 1978, contacted Mumma in 2005. She agreed to investigate his case and also shared his request with the Innocence Inquiry Commission, which investigates the innocence claims of convicted people.

The complaint says that during a visit to the home of family members of possible suspects, Mumma left with a water bottle that didn't belong to her. When she realized this, she didn't return the bottle to the family, who declined the next day to provide DNA samples of her relatives.

She submitted the bottle for DNA testing anyway, the complaint says. In November 2013, she learned the DNA didn't match evidence from the Davis crime scene.

Mumma then called the family member back and asked if anyone else had been in the home during their earlier interview. She again requested DNA samples, which the relative again refused to provide, the complaint says.

"Mumma never mentioned to (the relative) that she had already obtained a DNA sample that may have been ... family DNA that was tested which did not match DNA from Davis crime scene evidence," the complaint says.

Mumma also represented Greg Taylor, who was found innocent of murder at a groundbreaking hearing in 2010 after the innocence commission referred his case to a three-judge judicial panel.

You can read the entire complaint here.

Dwayne Dail says at least six men whom Mumma represented plan to attend the hearing. Dail served 18 years in prison for a 1987 rape before being released in 2007 when DNA testing proved his innocence.

If the bar finds Mumma violated the rules, it can issue discipline up to disbarment.

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