#NCSEN: Questions swirling around judge in Brannon civil suit

qsPolitical opponents have been giggling and gloating over a Wake County jury’s decision in a business dispute involving Republican US Senate candidate Greg Brannon.  Brannon’s co-defendant in the civil suit — who was cleared by the jury — took to the media to raise questions about the trial’s conclusion.  He offered details of how the judge reportedly kept scores of pieces of evidence helpful to Brannon’s argument away from the jury.  He also revealed some rather unusual responses by the judge to jury questions. 

Well, it appears Christian Hine over at Pundit House has found some more disturbing information about the judge in the case:

A jury verdict on February 18, 2014 found US Senate Candidate Greg Brannon liable for giving “misleading or false information in 2010 to investors regarding a mobile application being developed by Neogence Enterprises, a now-defunct tech company he helped start.”

As a result, Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins, who presided over the case, found Brannon must reimburse the two investors who were plaintiffs in the case over $450,000.

There is controversy sounding the merits of the case, and Brannon is appealing the ruling.

But who is Judge Bryan Collins?

According to Judgepedia.com, “Collins is a superior court judge for the 10th Judicial District of the Third Division of the Superior Court, serving Wake County in North Carolina. Collins began his legal career as an attorney in private practice from 1985 to 2005. In 2005, he became the Public Defender for Wake County. He was then elected a superior court judge in 2012 and his current term expires in 2020.”

According to a November 6, 2012 article in the Raleigh News and Observer, “Collins, 52, said he was approached last year by Don Stephens, Wake County’s senior resident Superior Court judge, about running for judge. So, late last year, he moved from his condominium in downtown Raleigh to an apartment in North Raleigh just so he could run in the newly created District 10E.”

Collins is a registered Democrat.

By conducting an FEC search for political campaign contributions, we see that a Bryan Collins in Raleigh who listed his occupation as Public Defender contributed the sum of $500 to the Hagan Senate Committee in 2008.

I’m no lawyer, and I can’t possibly pretend to understand all the technicalities of impartiality.  That said, does anyone think it smells a little funny that a Judge known to support one candidate for office would be allowed to try a case involving that candidate’s potential future opposition?

It’s hard to argue — with a straight face — that the judge was not aware of who Brannon is.  He’s been all over the papers and the Internet.  Sources in the courtroom tell me that, during jury selection, jurors were asked if they were aware of Brannon’s campaign for the US Senate.

14 thoughts on “#NCSEN: Questions swirling around judge in Brannon civil suit

  1. This really stinks. This judge should have recused himself from this case. Complaints should be filed against him with the Judicial Standards Commission and the North Carolina State Bar. I believe any citizen can file either one. A motion for a new trial might also be in order.

  2. Sadly, the low information voters will make their decisions based on a single word. They will not consider the facts in the case or the circumstances. Brannon will likely be exonerated after the election. This has not changed my vote or support. What this all amounts to is nothing more than the “forward looking” comments made in every corporate and stock prospectus published. From all I’ve read, the plaintiffs heard what they wanted to hear not necessarily what was fact. I agree that the judge should have recused himself or at least given impartial directions to the jury. The jury failed in this case as well. All the other defendants who testified were found not guilty with Brannon not even called to testify by the prosecution being the only one found liable. Smells really strange and maybe even a little rancid. Brannon is really the only competent constitutionalist running. Tillis is an insider Rockefeller Republican, Hayes is running a blocking operation for Tillis, Harris doesn’t have a clue he’s being used. and the rest of the field have no business running.

    1. Robert, I agree with much of what you say but I cannot believe that Harris does not know he is being used to spoil Brannon’s vote. If he really does not know then he is too great a fool to be in the Senate.

      1. That is the other possibility that Harris is a willing part of the plan. Either way it presents a good reason for Harris to not be our next Senator.

    2. The PPP poll that came out after the civil case shows no impact whatsoever on Brannon’s vote. At the end of the day, voters are going to care more about candidates who are selling our country down the river on amnesty for illegal aliens than about a case they really don’t even understand.

      But someone does need to very publicly make ethics complaints about this crooked judge to make sure there is doubt among voters about that case. The judge needs to be nailed for his underhanded and dishonest act of failing to recuse himself when he knew he was a Hagan contributor and politically biased.

      1. Glad to see that the case has had little impact. Where is the outrage that a Hagan contributor sat in judgement of a case concerning a potential challenger? The left would be all over this if the rolls were reversed. The N&O would have headlines about conservative corruption and how the Koch Brothers and Art Pope were behind it and had planned it as part of the vast right wing conspiracy. Looking forward to the Senate Candidates debate in Wendell coming up soon. I’ll be interested to see how the contenders man up when real principles are debated. I hope that the GOP doesn’t make a joke of the entire thing like the media does at the national level by excluding questions that provoke discussion of actual constitutional principles rather than emotional rhetoric and fluff.

        1. I would like to see formal ethics complaints against that politically biased judge who refused to recuse himself in presiding over a case against someone running against the candidate he contributed financially to. The conflict of interest is very clear and it is massive.

  3. One constant is that Democrats never recuse themselves. They simply don’t have the burden of that much conscience.

  4. Hopefully Brannon can get a new trial like Stephen LaRoque. The jury found Stephen LaRoque guilty but he is getting a new trial.

  5. At the Craven County GOP Convention last Saturday a representative for Mark Harris told the crowd that the number one most important thing to have in a candidate is unquestionable character. Don’t tell me that this decision wasn’t political. Harris and the other candidates are able to put doubt in peoples minds, never mind the facts that didn’t come out in the trial. GO GREG!

    1. Same tactic at the Nash County GOP Convention. That tactic brings into question the character of the very candidate using it (or allowing his representative to use it). Maybe he forgot the parable about “he who casts the first stone…” Another one he may wish to keep in mind has something to do about living in a glass house and throwing rocks…

      1. The most important thing is to have a candidate who is solid on the key issues. Brannon clearly is. Some of the newer candidates also seem to be. Tilli$ clearly is NOT, and Harris is questionable.

        Character is important, but who wants a liberal who happens to have good character?

  6. From what I understand, the judge himself told the jurors that Greg was a senatorial candidate. The judge was tainting the jury from day one! This should be a national story! A disgrace to the judicial system and yet another reason good men are chased away from serving! I am so glad Greg can’t be bullied and he will fight until the end for the truth in everything…not just this case.

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