A detention officer employed with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office was placed in handcuffs and led out of court by bailiffs from his own agency after Superior Court Judge Stuart Albright sentenced him to 30 days in jail for contempt of court.
Scott Davis, the detention officer, had taken the stand as a victim in a trial against a defendant accused of felony larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Davis had reported to a law enforcement officer and testified on the stand that he had gone out for a walk late at night with his dog on the night of Aug. 12, 2017, came home and fell asleep. When he woke up around 3 a.m., he said he went out to the parking lot and realized his car was gone. Davis testified that he had not been with anyone that night, that he had not given permission to anyone to take his car, and that he had not handed his car keys over to anyone.
Davis’ account changed dramatically on Friday morning after Assistant District Attorney Stephen Cole questioned him about a woman on the defense’s witness list named Lashanda Hall. Cole told Judge Albright that Davis had previously indicated to him that he did not recognize Hall. Cole said that as the gallery began to fill on Friday morning, he was concerned that he didn’t know how Hall would testify and questioned Davis again.
“That’s when Mr. Davis revealed for me words to the effect that he was with someone,” Cole told Judge Albright. “He had been drinking. He blacked out. He apologized profusely.
“I asked if he remembered giving the keys to this individual,” Cole continued. “He said, ‘I think so.’”
At that point, Cole moved to dismiss felony larceny of motor vehicle and possession of a stolen motor vehicle charges against Migel Andrea Campbell. In finding Davis guilty of contempt, Albright also found that “there was no basis to charge” Campbell with the offenses. Conviction of a Class H felony in North Carolina can result in a sentence of four to 25 months, according to the Criminal Defense Attorney website.
During the contempt hearing on Friday afternoon, Davis did not contest any of the facts presented by the prosecutor.
“I apologize for wasting your time and for wasting the state’s time,” Davis told Judge Albright.
Davis explained that he fabricated the story about his vehicle being stolen because “I was hanging out with a shady individual, and if that information got out I was in jeopardy of losing my job.
“I know it was a horrible decision; it was a foolish decision,” Davis continued, adding that when the prosecutor asked him about Hall on Friday morning, his conscience about his deceit made it unbearable and he “exploded.”
Albright noted in his summary order that Davis had given false testimony while wearing his Guilford County Sheriff’s Office detention uniform.
Albright found that Davis’ “sworn testimony was false” and that the detention officer “acted willfully and corruptly by making false statements knowingly and designedly.” Albright also found that Davis’ false testimony caused the court to delay another trial and that a summary order was necessary “to preserve the dignity of the court.”
Albright said he recognized that Davis’ safety could be jeopardized if he’s housed in Guilford County jail, and his order gave the sheriff’s office discretion to transfer custody to another detention facility in a neighboring jurisdiction.
Sheriff’s Attorney Jim Secor told Albright the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office has already reached out to their counterparts in Forsyth and Alamance counties for accommodation.