Judge Rules Trooper Unfairly Fired

A judge says the state Highway Patrol was wrong to fire a state trooper for having extramarital sex with a woman in his car and at a district station because other troopers who did the same or worse remained on the force.

Monty Steven Poarch was fired in 2003. But evidence in the case showed that another trooper who also had an affair with the woman was suspended without pay for five days.

Administrative Law Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter's decision this week calls for Poarch to be reinstated with back pay. The state Highway Patrol says it will appeal the decision.

Poarch is now a lieutenant in the Caldwell County sheriff's department. His attorney, Michael McGuinness of Elizabethtown, said Poarch is grateful for the decision and wants his job back.