News Roundup

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Durham County Superior Court Judge Elaine Bushfan, hearing cases in Alamance County, reversed her own judgments in five cases this week, saying that the Alamance County District Attorney’s office was too “harsh,” and that she would no longer hear criminal cases in Alamance County. Three of the five cases were habitual felon prosecutions. District Attorney Pat Nadolski told the media that his office aggressively prosecutes priority cases including violent crimes, habitual felons, and drug cases dealers. [Editor’s note: I updated the post in response to a request for greater precision regarding the language used in Mr. Nadolski’s statement.] The Greensboro News and Record story is here. A more detailed story from the Burlington Times-News, which includes a profile of each of the five cases in question, is here. A sense of the local reaction to the case may perhaps be gleaned from the comments on the latter story.

In other news:

  1. Ervin to run again. Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin, who narrowly lost a bid for Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby’s seat in the last election, is again running for the high court. This time, he will be taking on colleague Bob Hunter in a race for the seat to be vacated by Justice Mark Martin, who is planning to run for Chief Justice Parker’s seat as she retires. Got all that? The Greensboro News and Record has the basics here.
  2. Fourth Circuit criticizes United States Attorney’s Office. The News and Observer ran this story this week, which begins: “In a rare rebuke, the . . . Fourth Circuit . . . has alerted the U.S. Attorney General to what the court describes as a troubling pattern by federal prosecutors of withholding evidence from defendants in North Carolina’s Eastern District.” The court identified three cases over the past several years in which it had found discovery problems. Both former United States Attorney (and current member of Congress) George Holding, and current United States Attorney Thomas Walker stated generally that they took the court’s comments and the Government’s discovery obligations seriously.
  3. Zimmerman out to recoup costs. CNN reports here that attorneys for the recently acquitted George Zimmerman “plan to ask the state to reimburse Zimmerman for at least $200,000 of expenses incurred during his trial,” under a Florida law that “an acquitted defendant cannot be held liable for court costs or any charges while detained in custody, as long as a clerk or judge consents to the refund.” Attorneys’ fees can’t be recovered, but expert witness fees, travel expenses, and certain other costs can be. As a sidebar, it appears that Zimmerman’s lawyers have been paid in publicity nothing so far for their work on the case.
  4. New York City’s jails must be really nice. The New York Times reports here that it costs $168,000 per year to keep an inmate in jail in New York City. They must have some nice facilities! People are even sneaking into the jails there, according to this local story. It reports that a convicted sex offender, using a fake correctional officer ID, “made his way into the Manhattan Detention Center and spent several hours visiting with the inmates,” who he described as nice people who made him feel important.
  5. What’s the difference between a mugger and a lawyer? A mugger only takes most of your money. Or something like that, according to this story about a defense attorney’s closing argument. In a nutshell, the defendant was charged with robbing the victim at knifepoint. The defense seized on the fact that the victim claimed that the defendant took $20 from her, but left her with $10. “What kind of robber only takes two-thirds of your money? Not even a lawyer does that,” the attorney argued. The defendant was quickly acquitted.
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3 comments on “News Roundup

  1. Yes, they do withhold statements from the discovery.
    Also, when you get an attorney working for/with the prosecutor , the defendant let’s say is screwed.
    They definitely were to harsh on my son.
    Sent him to prison for second degree murder for 12-15 yrs.
    Also, my son’s lawyer George Laughrun added to the sentence himself.
    The prosecutor was Marsha Goodenow.
    She wanted to maintain her harsh ways and use my son as an example for the community.
    My son was drugged at a party.
    He was set up.
    there was an hour missing when a party he was at was 5 minutes down the road.
    The beers the prosecutor used as evidence was from the guys that left my son on an exit going the wrong way.
    He was passed out and woke up and started driving.
    No one cared that my son was drugged , beaten, and left for a whole hour.
    Not his attorney….His attorney was put on the stand and under oath said he knew about the fight and drugging.
    He saw “NO NEED TO Investigate.
    What an idiot.
    We did a MRA that day when he answered the question.
    The judge which was the third one involved in one MRA said this was just a personal situation.
    Personal….?????
    Sure was , we wanted the ones that set Brock Franklin up to pay for their involvement.
    As long as they had one person to put in prison, it didn’t matter what 20+ people at the party did to him.
    He should have rec;d involuntary manslaughter.
    That is what it was. He never intended on any of this.
    Letters have been written.
    But you know when you take a plea, which he was threatened into.
    He was told if it went to trial, he would receive 80 years.
    They interrogated Brock with a Traumatic Brain Injury.
    He does not remember the meeting at all.
    They used my son and he was on TV in Charlotte, for over 6 months.
    It was a circus.
    I do not understand how they can ruin a kids life when he never had intentions of hurting or harming anyone.
    But the ones that hurt him, ended up helping hurt others.
    It is not fair.
    Withholding statements, having the SBI sign off on something and can’t find my sons blood samples.
    Having lies on the stand and receiving the discovery and finding out they lied on the stand at the bench trial.
    What is a person to do?
    Sincerely Robin Franklin

  2. To the comment above – wrong court – Mecklenburg County is not the US attorney’s office. As for the Alamance County DA’s office, based on the information provided in the High Point article, and personally working with Pat Nadalski when he was an ADA, either the other 8 counties are giving away the courthouse in their plea offers, or the judge needs to realize that she is bound by the law and needs to do her job. Nine of those plea offers were unacceptable given the charges. A sexual battery plea down from a 2nd degree sexual offense? It is not the DA’s fault that registration is required. As a judge she is required to uphold the law, not pick and choose when it applies.

    • To:Anna
      I do understand what you are saying.
      I have to get out story out in any manner.
      My son had just turned 18 when his accident occurred.He had a traumatic Brain Injury, in a coma for 4 days and the media was on us like coyotes.
      Said he was in the hospital twiddling his thumbs.
      He still had fluid and bleeding on the brain when they took him in to be processed right out of the hospital.
      Never had any follow ups on his condition.
      The court let the victims families lie on the stand and on TV.
      Now this was confirmed by their own lawyer Michael DeMayo.
      I am saying they are to harsh on the punishments of kids that are out partying , not expecting to be thrown under the bus by his / her so called friends.
      His own lawyer was not defending him.
      We had never been in this kind of situation.
      We did not know how it all worked.
      When you find out , it is too little and too late.
      Hindsight.
      This does not help the kids they stick in prison for political standings.
      Using them as examples, and pawns.
      An accident is not murder and it should not be considered as that.
      thank you for your response and I hope all is straightened out in Alamance.

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