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.



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

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.


Copyright Charlotte Observer

Domestic Abuse Case Against Hardy Unravels

Source: Gordon, Michael, et al. “Domestic Abuse Case against Hardy Unravels.” Charlotte Observer, 10 Feb. 2015, pp. 1A–5A

State’s key witness, Nicole Holder, could not be found to testify

Carolina Panther Greg Hardy exits the Mecklenburg County courthouse Monday with his attorneys, Frank Maister, left, and Chris Fialko, right. In July, Hardy was convicted by a judge of assaulting and threatening to kill Nicole Holder, a former Uptown waitress.

Greg Hardy’s domestic abuse charges were abruptly dismissed Monday, but the case against the Carolina Panthers’ Pro Bowl defensive end appears to have been unraveling for weeks.

That’s because the state’s key witness – Hardy’s former girlfriend Nicole Holder – told prosecutors months ago she didn’t want to cooperate and has been avoiding the repeated efforts of the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office to find her and compel her to testify.

In July, Hardy had been convicted by a judge of assaulting and threatening to kill Holder, a former uptown waitress. But District Attorney Andrew Murray said his office hasn’t talked to Holder since November. And despite what Murray described in court as “extraordinary measures” to locate her, they still do not know where she is.

The prosecutor also told Superior Court Judge Robert Sumner that Holder had agreed to a settlement with Hardy, which heads off any civil lawsuits she might file in connection with the case. No dollar amount was mentioned.

Victims and witnesses routinely stop cooperating in domestic-abuse cases and prosecutors still take the cases to court. Murray, though, said the Hardy case was different. He also appeared to raise doubts about Holder’s credibility in a statement to the judge.

But other details also raised unanswered questions about prosecutors’ handling of the case. Hardy’s defense team announced an appeal of his conviction before leaving court in July. but Murray said prosecutors only “recently” had compared what Holder told police the night of the alleged assault with testimony at Hardy’s first trial.

That’s because prosecutors didn’t have a trial transcript. Hardy’s defense team did – attorney Chris Fialko hired a court reporter at Hardy’s trial in District Court where transcripts are not normally prepared. According to court records, Fialko also fought the prosecution’s request for a copy of the transcript in the weeks leading up to Hardy’s trial this week.

Murray’s Office would not elaborate on what prosecutors found when they compared Holder’s statements, but the district attorney said in court that with Holder unavailable, they “did not have sufficient legal basis” to enter her statements to police as evidence.

Several legal experts around town speculated that prosecutors spotted inconsistencies that prevented them from building their case around Holder’s former accounts. To enter an unavailable witness’ prior testimony and statements as evidence. prosecutors have to “vouch” for its truthfulness, said Charlotte defense attorney George Laughrun.

“If they’re seeing something in the evidence that gives them pause, they may have been placed in an ethical dilemma where they don’t want to vouch for their witness.”

Defendants also have the right to confront every witness, said Charlotte attorney Jim Cooney. Fialko may have successfully blocked Holder’s previous testimony and statements to police as a violation of his constitutional protections.

Besides, Cooney added, “Reading a two-hour transcript (from the previous trial) is about the worst way to present evidence that I know of, and if she’s not there, it presents substantial doubts about her credibility.”

Hardy, who came to court in a dark, pin-striped suit and white $600 Balenciagas tennis shoes, appeared impassive as Murray announced that the charges against the 26-year-old had been dropped. Neither he nor Fialko would answer questions.

Holder’s location remains a mystery. Murray says police staked out the addresses where she was believed to be living and requests to relatives to have her come forward. Her attorney, Daniel Zamora, had not cooperated, Murray said. Zamora did not return phone calls from the Observer on Monday.

In July, with Holder at his side, Zamora said Hardy’s conviction “sent a strong message to the people of Mecklenburg County that it doesn’t matter if you’re an average Joe or if you’re a professional athlete that plays for the Carolina Panthers: If you assault a woman and you communicate to that woman that you will kill them, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, and you will be convicted.”

Hardy has been on the NFL’s exempt list since mid- September. He played in only one game in the 2014 season but was paid more than $13.1 million. He becomes a free agent next month.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Monday that Hardy’s status remains unchanged until league officials “fully review the matter”.

Late in the day, the Panthers said the team was aware that charges against Hardy had been dropped. “Greg remains on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, and the NFL has advised us to allow it to complete its review under the Personal Conduct Policy,” the statement read. “There is no change in his status at this time.”

Original Conviction Appealed

Hardy’s abuse case was one of several involving professional football players that dominated the headlines for much of the NFL season.

Holder’s allegations included a description of an enraged Hardy throwing her into the bathtub of his uptown condominium and tossing her onto a futon covered with semi-automatic weapons. Hardy later turned in about 10 weapons at the order of a judge.

As Murray left the courthouse for the short walk up Fourth Street to his office, he was surrounded by a school of media. He again declined to answer questions. The Observer later sought additional information about the search for Holder, the decision to drop the charges and whether prosecutors considered launching a witness-tampering investigation when they learned of the settlement between Holder and Hardy, among other topics.

Witness tampering is a felony under North Carolina law, but it is also a charge that is rarely prosecuted, recently retired Superior Court Judge Richard Boner said Monday.

That’s because investigators need proof of a “quid pro quo,” that money changed hands to keep a witness from testifying in a criminal case. A civil settlement could have the same net effect but not meet the requirements of a tampering charge, Boner said.

“If you have proof of quid pro quo, then you’ve got some possible criminal liability. It’s the district attorney’s call. There’s a fine line,” Boner said.

As Hardy left the courthouse, at least one reporter asked whether he’d left the impression that he paid Holder off. He declined to comment on that and other questions.

Fialko did the same. “Don’t make me do a Marshawn Lynch on you,” he told the Observer as he left the courthouse, a reference to the Seattle Seahawks player who refused to talk with the media at the recent Super Bowl.

Hardy and his entourage drove off in a Honda Accord.

Staff writer Johnathan Jones contributed.



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