District Court Judge Joseph Setzer denied District Attorney Susan Doyle's request Thursday on procedural grounds.
Four defense attorneys and a prosecutor pleaded guilty earlier this year to helping fix driving while impaired cases in Johnston County.
Doyle says the 33 defendants who had their charges dropped shouldn't benefit from the wrongdoing of their attorneys.
But the defendants who benefitted from the tampering argued they didn't know about the special treatment and shouldn't be punished.
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