By

Chris Fialko

Chris Fialko was reappointed by Mark Martin, Chief Justice, to the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission for a term of two years. From July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2019.

Chief Justice Martin appreciates Chris Fialko’s commitment of time and talent to this important Commission, which works to advance the administration of justice in our state.

2017-05-31+NC+Sentencing+and+Policy+Advisory+Commission+Appointment

 

Advocates for Justice

April 27, 2017

Dear Chris,

As President of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, I have the honor of selecting the recipients of the 2017 Ebbie Award. This award was established to recognize NCAJ members for exceptional service and inspired commitment to the organization. I want to thank you for all you have done this year by giving you this award.

We would like to honor you at the Advocates for Justice’s Annual Convention. The Ebbie Award will be presented at the Board of Governor’s luncheon meeting at 12:15 pm on Monday, June 19, 2017. The luncheon will be held in the Salon of Jones/Byrd Clubhouse at Sea Trail Resort in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. I hope that you plan to attend.

Please let Mary Lee at the Advocates for Justice know if you will be able to join us for lunch and the award presentation. You can reach Mary at 919.835.2896.

Congratulations. You are a well-deserved recipient for this award.

Best regards,

Bill Powers
NCAJ President

North Carolina 2017 Super Lawyers

Top 25 Charlotte Area

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multi-phase selection process

The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. We limit the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public, i.e. lawyers in private practice and Legal Aid attorneys.

Connette, Ill, Edward G., Essex Richards, Charlotte
Cooney, Ill, James P., Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, Charlotte
Cutp, HeatherW., Essex Richards, Charlotte
DeVore, Ill, Fred W., DeVore Acton & Stafford, Charlotte
Diehl, Jr., William K., James McElroy & Diehl. Charlotte
Ey, Jr., Douglas W., McGuireWoods, Charlotte
Fialko, Christopher C., Fialko Law, Charlotte
Fuller, Ill, Robert W., Robinson Bradshaw, Charlotte
Greene, Michael J., Goodman Carr Laughrun Levine & Greene, Charlotte
Grier, Ill, Joseph W., Grier Fu rr & Crisp, Charlotte
Harrington, Robert E., Robinson Bradshaw, Charlotte
Higgins, John P., Additon Higgins & Pendleton, Charlotte
Hinson, Jr., Edward T., James Mc Elroy & Dieh l, Charlotte
Kutrow, Bradley R., McGuireWoods, Charlotte
Largess, S. Luke, Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, Charlotte
McDowell, Valecia M., Moore & Van Allen. Charlotte
Moss, Jr., Joseph W., Erwin Bishop Capit ano & Moss, Charlotte
Powers, Bill, Powers McCartan, Charlotte
Riopel, Mark D., Hamilton Stephens Steele + Mart in, Charlotte
Sumwalt, Mark T., The Sumwalt Law Firm, Charlotte
Vincent-Hamacher, Angelique R .. Robinson Bradshaw, Charlotte
Wester, John R., Robinson Bradshaw, Charlotte
White, Martin L.. Johnston Allison & Hord, Charlotte
Wright, Ill, David C., Robinson Bradshaw, Charlotte
Wyatt, 111, James F., Wyatt & Blake, Charlotte

I recently had the most befuddling experience in the 27 years I’ve been practicing criminal defense.  Instead of letting me cross-examine the witness against my client, the “judge” made me ask her the questions.  The “judge” then decided whether the question was acceptable.  If she deemed it appropriate, she addressed the witness directly, often softly re-phrasing my question.

This event wasn’t in court. It was a college hearing on sexual misconduct.

In my mind, there are two big problems with this “judicial method”.

First, why would colleges, known as places of higher learning in America, casting off cross-examination, perhaps the greatest engine ever invented for the discovery of truth?

The relevant part of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution reads:  In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . .to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

I understand that Title IX sexual misconduct allegations in a college setting are not decided in a criminal court, so the Sixth Amendment doesn’t apply. But cross-examination has been proven and time-tested as the best way to reveal the truth.  I am worried that without real cross-examination, Title IX hearings are not getting to the truth.

Second, and more worrisome long-term, the reason many colleges do not allow cross-examination is the belief that it is traumatic to the person being cross-examined.  This is true. The constitution does talk about the right to confront the witness because the trauma of confrontation can reveal the truth.  Truth is able to stand up to the trauma of confrontation.

Instead, college students, the accuser, the accused, and witnesses are being taught the lesson that preventing possible trauma to the witness may be more important than finding the truth.  For most of these students, this flawed hearing will be their only example of how a trial works.

Someday those college students are going to be prosecutors, judges, defense lawyers, and jurors.  I sure hope law school will help them unlearn this bad lesson, but I’m worried.

 

 

North Carolina Lawyers Weekly

One-man wolf pack

Source: Bantz, Phillip. “One-Man Wolf Pack.” North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, 16 Dec. 2015.

Prominent Charlotte criminal defense lawyer Christopher Fialko is going solo.

His current firm, Rudolf Widenhouse & Fialko, announced earlier this month that Fialko will be kicking off the New Year by separating from his longtime law partners and opening his own office. “I’ve had an excellent 16 years working with Dave Rudolf and Gordon Widenhouse,” Fialko said. “I just felt it was time for me to strike out on my own and see what opportunities might arise.” Rudolf Widenhouse & Fialko will become Rudolf Widenhouse following Fialko’s departure.

Fialko was still deciding on a name for his new firm, where he will continue to specialize in state and federal criminal defense. He said he did not have immediate plans to bring on any new law partners.

But he added, “I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open for what opportunities might come about.”

Last summer, Fialko defended former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy in a high-profile domestic violence case that ended with Hardy being convicted of assaulting and threatening an ex-girlfriend.

But the charges were dismissed earlier this year after Hardy appealed and prosecutors could not locate his accuser.

In November, sports website Deadspin published a series of leaked police photos that were reportedly taken of the ex-girlfriend’s bruised face and body following the assault.

Fialko’s other recent noteworthy cases include the acquittal of a Salisbury police officer accused of excessive force and his successful defense of a lawyer who was allegedly involved in a mortgage fraud scheme.

He and Rudolf said in separate interviews that they were parting on good terms.

“He wanted to have his own firm. I understand that,” Rudolf said. “It’s what I wanted to do 20 or 30 years ago. I think everyone gets to a point where that is appealing to them. Chris found himself in a position where he could do it.”

“There’s no drama here,” Fialko added.

 

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