Supporters turn out for North Carolina innocence attorney

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Six men who Mumma represented attended the hearing

Supporters of attorney Chris Mumma turned out for hearing in Raleigh Tuesday. The North Carolina State Bar accuses her of professional misconduct.

Mumma, director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, allegedly violated 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.

You can read the entire complaint here.

Six men who Mumma represented attended the hearing. Among them was 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.

"I'm here today for Chris Mumma," Taylor said. "When she represented me, she never asked for anything in return and it's the least I could do."
Taylor's father-in-law Ed Timberlake was also there.
"I'd like to see Chris's name cleared, and make her able to continue her profession and doing the good work she's doing," he offered.

Observers on both sides are paying close attention to testimony about the Sledge case and Mumma's actions.

"Chris Mumma has had a target on her back since she started this work. Nobody likes to be embarrassed, and this has embarrassed a lot of people. And I thank God for her, and if justice does not come out of this hearing this week, it will eventually," said Mumma supporter Dewayne Dail.

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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