Possible conflict of interest prompted Crowley case review

Jan. 12, 2013 @ 04:58 PM

The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys plans to have one of its prosecutors review a hit and run case from April 2012 that resulted in the death of Joshua Crowley.

The Union County District Attorney's Office recently turned the case over to the agency.

Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, confirmed that a hit and run case involving a death had been given to the agency from the Union County District Attorney's Office .

"One of our prosecutors is going to receive the file (and) will be reviewing the file to make the best determination about what should happen so they're going to handle it," Dorer said.

One of the reasons she was told why it was being given to the agency was because of a conflict.

"I believe that the conflict was that the defense attorney is the former DA (district attorney) and was the DA's former boss," Dorer said.

Established in 1983, the Conference of District Attorneys was created to assist in improving the administration of justice in North Carolina by coordinating the prosecution efforts of the various district attorneys, by assisting them in the administration of their offices. The agency consists of, and is governed by elected district attorneys and has a staff in Raleigh to carry out their goals and objectives. Primary responsibilities of the conference include, but are not limited to prosecution support, executive development, research and public outreach, according to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys website.

On Easter Sunday 2012, a passing motorist found Crowley’s body on Potter Road after he had been hit the night before while walking home from a party.

Since his body was found, the vehicle involved in the hit and run has been identified and Tiffany Brooke Ashcraft was identified as its driver.

According to court documents, a search warrant was issued on April 30, 2012 that allowed for the search of the 2011 Lexus identified as the vehicle involved and that items were seized from the vehicle.

First Sgt. M.R. Leach of the North Carolina Highway Patrol said he could not comment on pending criminal matters in response to questions about the warrant, including why it took three weeks from the time of the accident for the Highway Patrol to seek a search warrant for the vehicle. The vehicle, its owner Eugene Kennedy Ashcraft and the driver, Tiffany Brooke Ashcraft were identified by the Highway Patrol within three days of the incident.

No charges have yet been filed in the Crowley hit and run case. 

District Attorney Robison has refused to talk to Enquirer-Journal reporters about the status case or why it took nine months before he asked for a review of the possible conflict of interest by North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, and why he did not refer the case to a DA in another jurisdiction for review and prosecution as he has done in previous cases where his office had a conflict.