Controversial former prosecutor and poorly regarded judge, Rep. Scott Brewer has spent his career damaging the integrity of the justice system.
Scott Brewer withheld evidence that put a black man on death row.
In 1996, Brewer was an assistant to Union County District Attorney Kenneth Honeycutt. In 2004, Jonathan Gregory Hoffman, a death row inmate, was awarded a new trial after Honeycutt admitted that critical evidence had been withheld at the 1996 trial. Hoffman had been sentenced to death for the robbery and murder of a jewelry store owner. The main witness against Hoffman was a cousin, Johnell Porter, who was facing long prison sentences in South Carolina and in federal prison. Porter’s prison sentences were reduced by at least 15 years and he was not prosecuted for a dozen other serious crimes and he received reward money in exchange for his testimony. Porter would later claim he made up his testimony about Hoffman to secure the deal.
Associated Press, January 15, 2006: The North Carolina State Bar, in a challenge to its own disciplinary committee, this week filed a memorandum contending that its investigation found former Union County-based prosecutors Ken Honeycutt and Scott Brewer lied about a witness to win a case they likely would have lost otherwise. The memo issued Wednesday said they apparently committed felony obstruction of justice and subornation of perjury, which means pressing another person to lie under oath, during the 1996 murder case.
Scott Brewer only escaped disciplinary action from the State Bar because of a clerical error.
A clerical error at the state Supreme Court has caused the disciplinary arm of the N.C. State Bar to drop charges of felonious misconduct against two former Union County prosecutors. The State Bar had charged Kenneth Honeycutt and Scott Brewer with lying, cheating and withholding evidence in a 1996 death penalty case.
The bar charged that Honeycutt and Brewer hid a deal with Hoffman’s chief accuser from the jury, the trial judge and Hoffman’s lawyers; lied to Judge William Helms; and concealed the deal by altering documents they gave to the judge.
One of Hoffman’s lawyers said he couldn’t believe Friday’s dismissal.
“They are skating, all because this rule wasn’t published in an old law book?” asked Mike Howell of Durham. “I wish I could find one of those technicalities and get one of my clients off in a murder case.”
Brewer’s escape from disciplinary action was aided by his college friend, then- Attorney General Roy Cooper.
From the Richmond County Daily Journal:
As a University of North Carolina undergrad, Scott Brewer wanted to run for president of the College Democrats student club. A young Roy Cooper told him to think bigger. Cooper encouraged him to serve as the organization’s statewide president, Brewer explained. Today, Brewer is Richmond County’s chief resident district court judge, and his college pal is challenging Gov. Pat McCrory for the Executive Mansion following four terms as North Carolina’s attorney general.
In 2006, three days after the Charlotte Observer published a lengthy investigative story in to the details of the conviction and subsequent examination of Brewer’s actions, Michael Parker, the District Attorney tasked with investigating Brewer, requested assistance from Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office when it was discovered his conflicts of interest regarding the case.
Roy Cooper’s office dismissed the case against Brewer based on clerical errors and statute of limitations.
In 2015 progressive newspaper Indy Week wrote a lengthy report on Scott Brewer’s conduct.
The same year, a federal judge cited a separate case, 12-year-old capital trial, in which Brewer denied knowing about dubious statements made by the state’s key witness. Years later, the witness’ statements were discovered in Brewer’s file.
In “lying about to the court,” the judge wrote, “the prosecution lost sight of what the American judicial system strives to guarantee – justice at the end of a fair trial.”