MITCHELL GARRELL'S RESPONSE TO QUESTIONNAIRE
Durham People’s Alliance Political Action Committee Questionnaire for
District Attorney Candidates, 2014
Candidate’s name THOMAS "MITCHELL" GARRELL
Residence address 1508 CAROLINA AVENUE, DURHAM, NC 27705
Cell-phone Number 919-949-8988 e-mail: email@example.com
1. Where were you born and where did you grow up? When did you make Durham your home?
I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN TABOR CITY, NC. I MADE DURHAM MY HOME IN 1995.
2. Please describe your involvement in civic and professional organizations, noting any offices you may have held and any awards or
distinctions you may have earned.
I HAVE BEEN AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF ST. PHILIP'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN DOWNTOWN DURHAM SINCE
1995. FOR MANY YEARS I HAVE SERVED AS CHALICE BEARER IN OUR SERVICES; I HAVE ALSO SERVED
AS, FIRST, AN ASSISTANT, THEN A FULL, CATECHIST IN THE CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD;
DURING MY YEARS AS AN ASSISTANT I WORKED WITH CHILDREN THREE TO FIVE; DURING THE LAST
THREE YEARS I HAVE SERVED AS A CATECHIST, FIRST WITH THE SAME AGE GROUP, THEN, FOR THE
LAST YEAR FOR THREE YEAR-OLDS. THIS IS A MINISTRY THAT HAS BROUGHT GREAT INSIGHT IN MY
OWN LIFE AS I GO ABOUT OBSERVING AND PROVIDING A STRUCTURE FOR A CHILD DEEPENING THEIR
RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
3. Please describe how your religious and philosophical beliefs may affect your policies and decision-making if you are elected District
GROUNDED IN MY RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL BELIEFS, I HAVE BEEN OPPOSED TO THE DEATH
PENALTY FOR ALL OF MY ADULT LIFE. BEGINNING IN 1984, I REGULARLY ATTENDED VIGILS AT
CENTRAL PRISON ON THE NIGHTS OF EXECUTIONS. DURING MY NEARLY SIXTEEN YEARS AS AN
ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY I PROSECUTED DOZENS OF MURDER CASES; THESE CASES HAD BEEN
DETERMINED BY THE ELECTED DISTRICT ATTORNEY TO BE NONCAPITAL, AS ALMOST EVERY CASE IN
DURHAM IN THE LAST THIRTY YEARS HAS BEEN. GIVEN CHANGES TO THE STATUTE GOVERNING
CAPITAL CRIMES IN NORTH CAROLINA, I BELIEVE THAT I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM UPHOLDING THE
LAW AS MY OATH WOULD REQUIRE. MY RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE HAS LED TO MY BELIEF THAT BUT FOR
THE GRACE OF GOD, MY POSITION COULD BE SWITCHED WITH THAT OF THE DEFENDANT IN THE
4. Please describe your employment history and, for employment in the public or private practice of law, describe your client base and the
subject areas of your practice.
OTHER THAN TWO BRIEF PERIODS, I HAVE BEEN A PROSECUTOR FOR MY ENTIRE CAREER, WHICH
BEGAN IN 1994. IN EARLY 1995 I BEGAN MY CAREER WORKING IN THE NORTH CAROLINA JUSTICE
DEPARTMENT RESPONDING TO LAWSUITS FILED BY PRISONERS IN THE STATE SYSTEM, DOING THIS FOR
SEVERAL MONTHS BEFORE BEING HIRED BY DISTRICT ATTORNEY JIM HARDIN IN APRIL OF 1995. I HELD
THIS POSITION UNTIL THE END OF 2010, WHEN TRACEY CLINE DECIDED NOT TO REAPPOINT ME TO HER
NEW TERM SET TO BEGIN IN JANUARY OF 2011. AFTER A PERIOD OF UNEMPLOYMENT, I WORKED FOR
EIGHT MONTHS FOR PARTNER JD, REVIEWING DOCUMENTS IN A COMPLICATED CIVIL CASE BROUGHT
BY FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC REGARDING THE PURCHASE OF CERTAIN COLLATERALIZED
MORTGAGE OBLIGATIONS. IN MARCH OF LAST YEAR I WAS HIRED AS THE FINANCIAL CRIMES
PROSECUTOR FOR THE CENTRAL REGION OF NORTH CAROLINA, AN AREA ENCOMPASSING SOME
TWENTY-TWO COUNTIES FROM HALIFAX IN THE NORTH TO BRUNSWICK IN THE SOUTH, INCLUDING THE
MOST POPULOUS AREAS OF THE STATE OUTSIDE OF CHARLOTTE. IN THIS POSITION, I PROSECUTE
FINANCIAL CRIMES, OFTEN WHERE THE VICTIM IS ELDERLY OR UNDER SOME DISABILITY AFFECTING
THEIR ABILITY TO MAKE COMPLEX FINANCIAL DECISIONS.
5. Have you ever been publicly or privately disciplined by the North Carolina State Bar or any other professional or occupational licensing
authority in North Carolina or any other state? “Disciplined” should be read to include reprimands, censures, and warnings in addition to
license suspension, surrender, revocation, and disbarment. Is the State Bar or any governmental authority considering a complaint against
you at the present time? Have you ever been found in contempt of court? For each “yes” answer, please provide us with a full description
of the action taken, when it was taken, the authority in question, and a statement of the facts and events giving rise to the action or
complaint against you.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN PUBLICLY OR PRIVATELY DISCIPLINED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE BAR. THE STATE BAR
IS NOT CONSIDERING A COMPLAINT AGAINST ME AT THE PRESENT TIME. I HAVE NEVER BEEN FOUND IN CONTEMPT
6. Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense (other than a minor traffic offense)? Is there a criminal charge currently pending
against you? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, please identify the offense, the tribunal, and the sentence or penalty imposed.
Please also describe the circumstances giving rise to the charge and/or conviction.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. THERE ARE NO CRIMINAL CHARGES CURRENTLY
PENDING AGAINST ME.
7. Is there any unsatisfied judgment pending against you? If the answer to this question is yes, please identify the party or parties with a
judgment against you, the tribunal, the amount of the judgment, and the circumstances giving rise to the judgment. Are you currently a
plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit? If the answer to this question is yes, please identify the adverse parties and the tribunal where the matter
is pending. Please describe the nature of the claim or claims in the suit and the circumstances giving rise to the claim.
THERE ARE NO UNSATISFIED JUDGMENTS PENDING AGAINST ME. CURRENTLY, I AM NOT A PLAINTIFF OR
DEFENDANT IN A LAWSUIT.
8. For whom did you vote for president in 2008 and 2012? Did you vote for or against Amendment One?
I VOTED FOR BARACK OBAMA IN BOTH 2008 AND 2012, AND I VOTED AGAINST AMENDMENT ONE.
Concerning the District Attorney’s Office:
9. Please describe your experience in prosecuting and/or defending felony cases. Your answer should include the number of such cases
you have handled and should identify the number of cases where you were primarily responsible for the prosecution or defense (i.e., “first
chair”). Your answer should also distinguish cases tried from cases resolved by means other than trial. You may use approximate numbers.
I HAVE PROSECUTED THOUSANDS OF FELONY OFFENSES, AND HAVE BEEN THE LEAD PROSECUTOR IN
EVERY CASE I HAVE PROSECUTED. I PROSECUTED EVERY FELONIOUS CHILD ABUSE CASE INVOLVING
PRIMARILY NONSEXUAL CHARGES FROM ABOUT 1997 UNTIL THE END OF 2010; THERE WERE HUNDREDS
OF SUCH CHARGES. I WAS PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR SERIOUS ANIMAL ABUSE CASES AND ALL
ARSON CASES FOR THE SAME PERIOD; DURING 2009 AND 2010, I PROSECUTED SEXUAL OFFENSE
FELONIES. DURING THE LAST THIRTEEN YEARS OF MY CAREER, I PROSECUTED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY
VIOLENT CRIME, TO INCLUDE ARMED ROBBERIES AND MURDERS. I HAVE PROSECUTED DOZENS OF
MURDER CASES. I HAVE TRIED HUNDREDS OF CASES TO JURY VERDICTS, AND TO MY KNOWLEDGE
HAVE NEVER BEEN REVERSED ON APPEAL.
10. What is your experience managing a large staff of professional and non-professional employees?
I MANAGED A LARGE TEAM OF, OCCASIONALLY, SECOND-CHAIR PROSECUTORS, BUT NEARLY ALWAYS
INVESTIGATORS AND VICTIM WITNESS COORDINATORS DURING MY CAREER IN DURHAM. THE
SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES IN MANAGING A COMPLEX FELONY TRIAL ARE SUBSTANTIAL AND
CAN INVOLVE THE MANAGEMENT OF DOZENS OF WITNESSES. AS A FINANCIAL CRIMES PROSECUTOR, I
AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROSECUTION OF ALL FINANCIAL CRIMES REFERRED TO BY THE ELECTED
DISTRICT ATTORNEYS IN SOME TWENTY-TWO COUNTIES IN THE CENTRAL PART OF THE STATE. THIS
POSITION REQUIRES THAT I INTERACT WITH THESE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND THEIR STAFFS, AS WELL
AS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES IN ALL OF THESE COUNTIES, ALONG WITH THE STATE BUREAU
OF INVESTIGATION, AND INVESTIGATORS OF THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE AND THE
DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE, AMONG OTHERS.
11. As District Attorney, what policy would you support for charging under the habitual felony statute? Would you take into account the
nature of the triggering offenses and the proportionality of the possible punishment upon conviction?
I BELIEVE THAT THE HABITUAL FELON STATUTE PROVIDES A VALUABLE TOOL FOR GENERAL
PUNISHMENT AND SPECIFIC DETERRENCE FOR THOSE WHO REPEATEDLY COMMIT FELONY OFFENSES.
BEFORE BEING ELIGIBLE FOR HABITUAL FELON STATUS, A DEFENDANT MUST AMASS THREE FELONY
OFFENSES, WITH THE SECOND ACT OCCURRING AFTER THE FIRST CONVICTION, AND THE SECOND
CONVICTION OCCURRING BEFORE THE THIRD ACT. ALMOST WITHOUT EXCEPTION, A PERSON
ACHIEVING SUCH A STATUS HAS HAD INNUMERABLE DISPOSITIONS INVOLVING DIVERSIONARY
PROGRAMS, COST ONLY, PRAYER FOR JUDGEMENT CONTINUED, PROBATIONARY MISDEMEANOR
CONVICTIONS, ACTIVE TIME MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES. IN VIRTUALLY EVERY CASE, PERSONS INDICTED
AS HABITUAL FELONS HAVE NUMEROUS FELONY CONVICTIONS IN ADDITION TO THOSE QUALIFYING
THEM FOR THE STATUS. THERE WOULD BE AN OFFICE PHILOSOPHY AND POLICY ON THE DECISION TO
PROCEED HABITUALLY; THIS POLICY WOULD ,OF COURSE, TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE NATURE OF THE
UNDERLYING OFFENSE, AS WELL AS THE TOTALITY OF THE DEFENDANTS CRIMINAL HISTORY IN
MAKING THE DECISION TO CHARGE HABITUALLY (I HAVE ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS CHOSEN NOT TO
INDICT HABITUALLY FOR OFFENSES IN WHICH THE UNDERLYING CRIME, THOUGH A FELONY, WAS NOT
OF A TRULY SERIOUS NATURE). AS IN EVERY PLEA OFFER EXTENDED, I WOULD ALSO TAKE INTO
ACCOUNT THE PROPORTIONALITY OF THE FINAL SENTENCE IN COMING TO SUCH A DECISION. (THERE
WOULD ALSO BE A POLICY REGARDING THE DECISION TO CHARGE UNDER THE VIOLENT HABITUAL
FELON STATUTES, BUT I BELIEVE THAT SUCH A POLICY IS NOT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THIS QUESTION; I
WOULD BE HAPPY TO DISCUSS IT IF DESIRED.)
12. Do you personally support the death penalty? Do you support its abolition or would you modify its application in any way? What is
the societal value of keeping the death penalty? If you support the abolition of the death penalty, would you be willing to encourage the
Conference of District Attorneys to take that position as well? As District Attorney, what criteria would you use in determining when you
would seek to impose the death penalty upon a criminal defendant? If you are District Attorney, who in your office will make decisions
concerning the death penalty?
PLEASE SEE THE ANSWER TO QUESTION 3, SUPRA.
I AM PERSONALLY OPPOSED TO THE DEATH PENALTY. I SUPPORT ITS ABOLITION, AND WOULD
ENCOURAGE THE CONFERENCE OF DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, AND THE LEGISLATURE AS WELL, TO TAKE
THE SAME POSITION. AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY, I WOULD USE THE CRITERIA SET OUT BY STATUTE IN
DECIDING WHAT SENTENCE IS APPROPRIATE IN ANY GIVEN CASE. AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY, I WOULD
MAKE DECISIONS OF THIS NATURE.
13. Litigation under the former Racial Justice Act uncovered systematic racial discrimination in jury selection by prosecutors throughout
North Carolina. What hiring practices, training or other measures will you implement to address this problem? If you are elected District
Attorney, would you be willing to advocate publicly and in the conference of District Attorneys about the need to address this problem to
insure that no defendant is put to death when evidence of racial bias as contemplated under the Racial Justice Act is present in the case?
I SUPPORTED THE FORMER RACIAL JUSTICE ACT AS IT WAS CONSIDERED DURING MY PRIOR RUN FOR
THE OFFICE OF DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN DURHAM. I CONTINUE TO SUPPORT, AND WOULD PROMOTE AN
OFFICE CULTURE AND PHILOSOPHY THAT SUPPORT, THE PROPOSITION THAT RACE SHOULD PLAY NO
FACTOR IN JURY SELECTION IN ANY CASE.
14. As District Attorney, would you continue to support the following programs: the Drug Treatment Court, the Criminal Justice Resource
Center, STAR, the Mental Health Treatment Court, the Veterans’ Court, the misdemeanor diversion program for 16- and 17- year-olds, and
the newly established pretrial services program? If you have reservations about any of these programs please explain them.
I WOULD CONTINUE TO SUPPORT AND UTILIZE ALL OF THESE PROGRAMS. I HAVE SOME CONCERNS OF A
SYSTEMIC NATURE CONCERNING THE SPLINTERING OF THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM INTO SPECIALIZED
COURTS, BUT THESE CONCERNS WOULD NOT AFFECT MY SUPPORT FOR THE PROGRAMS LISTED
ABOVE. FURTHER, I AM IN THE PROCESS OF COMPILING ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM THE
COMMUNITY (COMMUNITY SERVICE, SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT, MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT,
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, ETC.) TO FURTHER AID IN THE DIVERSIONARY PROCESS OR SUCCESSFUL
COMPLETION OF A PROBATIONARY SENTENCE. POVERTY SHOULD NOT PREVENT INDIVIDUALS FROM
BEING AFFORDED THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS THOSE AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUALS OF MEANS.
15. As District Attorney, what policies would you implement to address issues involving youthful offenders? Would you
support legislation to raise the age for juvenile offenders?
YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS IN RECENT YEARS IT SEEMS THAT AN INCREASING NUMBER OF THE ACTS OF
MISBEHAVIOR COMMON TO YOUTH, ACTS THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY DEALT WITH OUTSIDE OF THE
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, WIND UP IN THE CRIMINAL COURTS. DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND, THE
PRESENCE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ON OUR SCHOOL GROUNDS IS A NECESSARY, IF
REGRETTABLE, PART OF OUR CURRENT SOCIETY. AS A FATHER OF DAUGHTERS AGED TEN AND
FOURTEEN, I CAN TELL YOU THAT SEEING A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER WHEN I DROP ONE OF THEM
OFF AT SCHOOL IS REASSURING. WHAT IS PROBLEMATIC IS THE TENDENCY TO SEE THE CRIMINAL
JUSTICE SYSTEM AS THE FIRST RESORT IN CASES OF UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR. WHILE PARENTAL
INVOLVEMENT IS, NO DOUBT, THE KEY TO DISCIPLINE, IT IS CLEAR THAT THIS IS NOT ALWAYS
POSSIBLE, PRESENT, OR SUFFICIENT. I WOULD SUPPORT EFFORTS TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO DEALING
WITH UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR THAT AVOID INTRODUCING OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TO THE CRIMINAL
JUSTICE SYSTEM. I SUPPORT CHIEF DISTRICT COURT JUDGE MARCIA MOREY'S PROPOSAL TO
SUPPLEMENT THE CURRENT STATUTORY "SECOND CHANCE" OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO FIRST
OFFENDERS. WHILE I WOULD BE WILLING TO CONSIDER RAISING THE AGE OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS, I
WOULD DO SO ONLY WITH AN OPTION TO BIND OVER TO SUPERIOR COURT THOSE YOUTHFUL
OFFENDERS IN THE MOST SERIOUS VIOLENT FELONY OFFENSES.
16. What role do you think district attorneys should play in identifying and prosecuting criminal violations of state environmental
laws? What difficulties attend such prosecutions? What can be done to overcome them?
DURING MY CAREER, I PROSECUTED SEVERAL VIOLATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS. I AM A PROPONENT OF THE
“BROKEN WINDOWS” PHILOSOPHY OF WILLIAM JULIUS WILSON; IN DURHAM, THIS WOULD INCLUDE CONTINUED
SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITY LIFE COURT. I WOULD NOTE THAT UNDER CURRENT LAWS AND PRACTICES,
PROSECUTIONS OF THIS SORT ARE OFTEN ASSIGNED TO SPECIALIZED UNITS IN THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, AND I
WOULD DRAW UPON THIS RESOURCE AS APPROPRIATE.
17. As District Attorney, what measures do you support for making our courts more accessible to non-English speaking victims,
defendants, and witnesses?
CONSIDERING THE VAST INFLUX OF NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING INDIVIDUALS TO DURHAM, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT
THESE INDIVIDUALS HAVE ACCESS TO THE COURT SYSTEM. I WOULD CONTINUE TO SUPPORT EFFORTS TO PROVIDE
SUCH SERVICES BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS, AND WOULD SUPPORT EFFORTS TO OBTAIN
ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR THESE SERVICES. IT SHOULD BE NOTED, UNDER FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY JIM
HARDIN, I PARTICIPATED IN OUTREACH TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY TO ENSURE THAT IT WAS KNOWN THAT
THOSE WHO WERE VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CRIME COULD BE ASSURED THAT THE VINDICATION OF THEIR, AND THE
COMMUNITIES, RIGHTS AS VICTIMS WOULD NOT LEAD TO ANY ADVERSE IMMIGRATION ACTIONS BY THE DISTRICT
18. As District Attorney, how would you make district court more efficient?
IN MAKING DISTRICT COURT MORE EFFICIENT, I WOULD ASSIGN AT LEAST TWO ADA'S AND ONE INTERN PER
COURTROOM. FURTHER, I WOULD REQUIRE THAT ANY ADA WHO HAS A CASE SCREENED TO DISTRICT COURT BE
AVAILABLE IN THE APPROPRIATE COURTROOM(S). I WOULD ALSO SET UP A "BUDDY SYSTEM", IN THAT, IT IS, AT
TIMES, NOT POSSIBLE FOR SAID ADA TO BE IN DISTRICT COURT. WHILE I WOULD NOT NECESSARILY EXPECT THE
BUDDY ADA TO TRY THESE CASES, THEY COULD CERTAINLY HANDLE ADMINISTERIAL FUNCTIONS RELATING TO A
CASE. HAVING MULTIPLE ADA'S AND INTERNS IN THE MOST HEAVILY POPULATED COURTROOMS, ENABLES
MULTITASKING. FURTHER, VICTIMS, WITNESSES, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WOULD NOT FEEL
IGNORED. FURTHER, I BELIEVE THAT IT IS CRUCIAL THAT THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY BE SEEN AS PRESENT AND
ACCOUNTABLE IN ALL THE COURTROOMS FOR WHICH HE IS RESPONSIBLE. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT OUR
CURRENT PUBLIC DEFENDER, LAWRENCE CAMPBELL, HAS PRACTICED FOR YEARS AND I BELIEVE IT HAS A PLACE
IN THE DA'S OFFICE.
CURRENTLY, THERE IS FREQUENTLY ONLY ONE ADA IN A COURTROOM, WITH OR WITHOUT AN INTERN. ADA'S
WITH CASES SCREENED TO DISTRICT COURT ARE FREQUENTLY NOT PRESENT IN COURTROOM, NOR CAN THEY BE
FOUND IN THE COURTHOUSE. VICTIMS, WITNESSES, AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE LEFT LANGUISHING IN THE
COURTROOMS FOR HOURS. THERE IS AN INCREDIBLE SENSE OF INEFFICIENCY AND LACK OF LEADERSHIP IN
THE DA'S OFFICE. INTERNS ARE TRYING ENTIRELY TOO MANY CASES IN DISTRICT COURT. THIS IS INCREDIBLE
CONSIDERING THE OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY EMPLOYS OVER TWENTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT
ATTORNEYS. NUMEROUS ADA'S ARRIVE AT WORK AFTER 9 A.M. AND LEAVE BEFORE 5 P.M. A FREQUENT
COMPLAINT IS UNRETURNED PHONE CALLS. THERE IS APPARENTLY NO ACCOUNTABILITY. FURTHER, THE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY OR HIS CHIEF ASSISTANT ARE HARDLY EVER PRESENT IN DISTRICT COURT.
19. What in your past might lead the public to question their trust in the integrity of the District Attorney’s office or in you personally?
TRUST IN THE INTEGRITY OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE I TAKE PRIDE IN MY RECORD OF CONDUCT IN, AND
ADHERENCE TO THE PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS OF, THE PUBLIC OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY. IN
PARTICULAR, MY ACTIONS IN PROVIDING DISCOVERY AND IN MY PLEA PRACTICES, WERE AND ARE RESPECTED BY
THE DEFENSE BAR.
I DO BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE EXPERIENCED A LOSS OF TRUST IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. RECENT
REVERSALS OF CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS HAVE SHAKEN THE PUBLIC'S CONFIDENCE IN THE INTEGRITY OF THE
SYSTEM. I BELIEVE THAT SUCH REVERSALS SPEAK TO THE INTEGRITY OF THE SYSTEM AND ITS ABILITY TO RIGHT
PAST WRONGS. AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY, I PLEDGE TO ALLOW THE REVIEW OF INVESTIGATIVE FILES BY
ATTORNEYS WITH A GOOD FAITH AND REASONABLE BASIS TO QUESTION THE INTEGRITY OF A CONVICTION, AND
TO WORK WITH SUCH ATTORNEYS TO CURE ANY ERRORS FOUND. I WOULD ASSIGN ONE ADA TO BE RESPONSIBLE
FOR REVIEWING CASES IN WHICH LEGITIMATE CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED. I HAVE NEVER HAD A CASE
REVERSED ON APPEAL AND MY GOAL WOULD BE TO ENSURE THE INTEGRITY OF ALL CONVICTIONS OBTAINED IN
DURHAM COUNTY, AND TO RIGHT ANY WRONGS SHOULD THEY BE DISCOVERED. THE PUBLIC MUST BE SATISFIED
IN THE INTEGRITY OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. AS TO CASES WHICH HAVE COME BACK ON APPEAL, OR
OTHERWISE, A DECISION SHOULD BE MADE IN A REASONABLE TIME FRAME AND THOSE CASES WHICH ARE TO BE
TRIED AGAIN SHOULD BE TRIED AGAIN IN A REASONABLE TIME FRAME, WHILE THOSE NOT TO BE RETRIED SHOULD
BE PLED OR DISMISSED JUST AS EXPEDITIOUSLY.
FAR FROM BEING A CAUSE FOR CONTINUED DISTRUST, I BELIEVE THAT MY RECORD AND POLICIES WILL LEAD TO A
RESTORATION OF SUCH TRUST IN THE OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY.
20. What are the shortcomings of law enforcement in Durham? What can be done to correct them?
I BELIEVE THAT, IN GENERAL, WE HAVE A GROUP OF DEDICATED AND TRUSTWORTHY LAW ENFORCEMENT
OFFICERS IN DURHAM. I WOULD INCREASE THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR TRAINING LAW ENFORCEMENT BY THE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE. FUNDING ISSUES ARE PRESENT IN LAW ENFORCEMENT AS THEY ARE AT EVERY
LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT, AND I WOULD SUPPORT APPROPRIATE INCREASES IN SUCH FUNDING. I WOULD CONSIDER
SUPPORTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A DURHAM COUNTY VERSION OF THE CCBI IN WAKE COUNTY.
21. Do we incarcerate too many people in North Carolina? Do we incarcerate the right people? Please explain your answer. What
sentencing policy changes would you support in your role as District Attorney? Would you advocate for these policy changes publicly and
in the Conference of District Attorneys, the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission, and the North Carolina judges
I BELIEVE THAT IN DURHAM PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION HAS USUALLY RESULTED IN THE PROPER NUMBER OF
THE RIGHT PEOPLE BEING INCARCERATED. I BELIEVE THAT RECENT CHANGES BY THE LEGISLATURE, LARGELY AS
A RESULT OF REPUBLICAN EFFORTS TO CUT FUNDING, HAVE BEGUN A TREND THAT MIGHT LEAD TO UNDER
INCARCERATION OF THE RIGHT PEOPLE. IN FAIRNESS, THESE POLICIES, AT THEIR INCEPTION, MIGHT HAVE LED TO
MORE CARE IN SOME AREAS OF THE STATE IN DECISIONS AFFECTING INCARCERATION.
22. As District Attorney, how would you make the prosecutors in your office more accessible to defendants and defense attorneys?
SEE RESPONSE TO QUESTION 18
23. As District Attorney, what policy or organizational changes would you make that have not otherwise been anticipated by the questions
in this questionnaire?
I AM A PROPONENT OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE. FURTHER, I FEEL ADA'S NEED TO HAVE A REAL CONNECTION TO THE
COMMUNITY. IN ADDITION, I FEEL THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY SHOULD HAVE A REAL CONNECTION TO THE
COMMUNITY. I WOULD OFFER "TUESDAYS WITH TMG", A PROGRAM WHICH ON A MONTHLY BASIS WOULD OPEN
THE COURTHOUSE AT NIGHT TO THE PUBLIC WHERE THE COMMUNITY COULD MEET WITH ME AND VOICE THEIR
Thomas Mitchell Garrell
1508 Carolina Avenue
Durham, North Carolina 27705
March 2013 to present
North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys
Financial Crimes Prosecutor, Central Region
Serves as a resource to the elected district attorneys in the Central Region of North Carolina by offering
various levels of prosecutorial assistance in the area of financial crime. These crimes are often highly
complex, involve large volumes of documents and evidence and require a focused
approach. Responsible for prosecuting select financial crimes in over a dozen Prosecutorial Districts.
August 2012 to March 2013
Discovery Review Attorney
April 1995 to January 2011
14th Prosecutorial District
State of North Carolina
Assistant District Attorney
Prosecuted persons charged with violent crimes including homicide, physical child abuse, rape, robbery
and arson. Tried over 200 cases before a jury.
January 1995 to March 1995
North Carolina Department of Justice
Special Litigation Division-Civil Section
Responded to lawsuits filed by prisoners in the North Carolina Department of Correction.
School of Law, University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
1994 - Juris Doctor
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
1991 - Bachelor of Arts Political Science
Graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa