March 8, 2022
Time was the elephant in the room. Advocates for both candidates were out in force. All appeared anxious for change in the criminal justice system. The candidates displayed some grace, and some collegiality. Substantive issues were discussed. But there were also two different visions of time on display.
Incumbent Spencer Merriweather, in office since 2017, has been slowed down on his own reform agenda by COVID-19. He talked about how, even without a pandemic shutting down courtrooms, it takes lots of collaboration and joint decision-making to implement reforms. Challenger Tim Emry says his campaign platform is focused on changes he can implement without seeking legislative or other approval.
Observer Courts reporter Michael Gordon wrote in detail about the session here.
Below the video from this morning’s session are excerpts from the chat box where participants were raising issues, some of which were not tackled during the hour.
From the chat box
Mr. Merriweather: Why are we seeing many habitual offenders and those who have been charged with violent crimes, including murder, released back into communities on low bonds or electronic monitoring?
Thank you Spencer for an excellent job. You have been accessible and helpful in being proactive in helping to resolve issues that affect youth in our community. I will work hard to re-elect someone that is honest and trustworthy that this community holds in high esteem.
Tim, that is very true. There are 2 justice systems in Charotte. That can’t be denied.
Tim Emry, how would you be able to implement such bold ideas and intentions within a system which heavily relies on collaboration with police?
Tim, how will you determine that a person was racially profiled?
For Spencer Merriweather: What is your office currently doing to address victim assistance and alternatives to prison? For Tim Emry: How would you address victim assistance and alternatives to prison ? How would you work with community organizations?
When you expunge a record of someone, why do you not expunge the arrest record along with the expungement?
Gun violence in Charlotte must be addressed especially among our youth and with the increase in drive-by shootings that are resulting in deaths, including the death of an innocent 3-year-old child. Are you prepared to aggressively prosecute violent offenders regardless of race?
For Tim Emry: Of the priorities on your platform, list those in which you would be able to immediately implement? Which ones would need the most time to implement?
As a former Probation/Parole Officer and now working with court services with the Department of Public Safety, we are seeing many offenders placed on probation that shouldn’t be placed on probation which drains our resources. One example is a person with a misdemeanor charge and a 10-day active sentence. On the other end we had a person placed on probation who had been unsuccessfully terminated from probation at least 6 times and had 12 prior record points. What will you do if elected to ensure that offenders are properly screened for probation sentences and not “dumped” on probation just to clear cases.
Historically a main actor in an unjust criminal justice system has been bad prosecutors aligned and conspiring with bad officers. What have you done or what will you do to ensure that you identify and terminate rogue assistant district attorneys that do not uphold the principles and oath to ensure a fair and just criminal justice system in Mecklenburg County?
For Tim Emry: What do you plan to do with all those who would avoid prison under your policies, to position them to not reoffend, specifically those who commit crimes out of poverty? Mr. Emry responds: We need to connect those folks with services and provide them an action plan that they can achieve and transform their lives.
How can the DA Office work to prevent citizens from going to jail that do not need to be incarcerated, but are in need of human and health services? What would that process look like, and who would be involved to design this system/process?
Folks with mental health issues need treatment but they also must be held accountable for their crimes. That is Mental Health 101. As a Mental Health advoate and someone who is trained in mental health support, taking responsiblity for behaviors and actions is a huge part of mental health treatment.
The entire justice system does not consider mental health status during legal issues. The current Office does not, DOES NOT, care about what happens to people with mental health issues who are assaulted, or harmed in Charlotte! I know from personal experience.
If I didn’t answer your question, please email me at [email protected] the website is https://timforda.com
I am Magistrate Chris Bazzle and I am running for District Court Judge, Seat 1, which is currently vacant. I was humbled when the Mecklenburg attorneys voted me their top nominee to Gov. Cooper to appoint to fill this vacancy, based on my experience and integrity. I have been an attorney since 2009, and have been serving all the people of Mecklenburg as a Magistrate since 2016. Every day I work to make sure everyone before me is shown dignity and respect, and receives a fair hearing. When elected, you can trust I will continue to run my courtroom as a place free of prejudice and bias, where each person receives a fair trial and access to justice. I am working to earn your support and vote for the May Primary. Please learn more and please show your support at https://www.BazzleForJudge.com and https://www.facebook.com/BazzleforJudge. Thank you!
Thank you everyone for an excellent forum as always and good to see you all. My name is Belal Elrahal and I am running for District Court Judge (Seat 19). I am an experienced trial attorney, dedicated public servant, and Charlotte native. We need your help, learn more and sign up to join us at https://www.elrahalforjudge.com or text me at (704) 724-4746. Thank you!
Hey Tuesday Forum Family! I’ve filed to run for Board of County Commission At-Large! Thanks for your support! www.voteyvette4meck.com [email protected]
Jennifer De La Jara:
My campaign information can be found at https://www.jennifer4meck.com. Great forum this morning!
Ram Mammadov, Congressional D14. www.ramforcongress.com
My name is Rob Hillman, I am your candidate for Charlotte City Council District 6. To get to know more about my campaign, volunteer or donate, check out my website http://voteforhillman.com. Also, please follow me on social media at the following sites:https://twitter.com/voteforhillman; https://facebook.com/voteforhillman; https://instagram.com/voteforhillman. My phone number is 704.266.3218
Demetra Harris on behalf of Shante Burke-Hayer:
Great Discussion! I am Demetra Harris, on behalf of Shanté Burke-Hayer, candidate for District Court Judge – Seat 1. She was on earlier but had to go to a Juvenile hearing. To learn more about her campaign: www.BurkeHayerforJudge.com
Dr. Blanche Penn:
Charlene Henderson District 1 for City Council
Good morning everyone! Samantha Mobley for district court judge seat 19. Please visit www.votesamanthamobley.com. Thank you for your support!
Good morning everyone. Great discussion this morning. Danté Anderson for Charlotte City Council District 1 http://Dante4Charlotte.com
Darlene Heater, Charlotte City Council District 4, www.votedarleneheater.com
Thanks to all who participated and watched this morning.
Judge Gale Adams:
Ms. Sherrill thank you very much for the prayer this morning, it was wonderful.