Mitchell Garrell 2014 PA-PAC Questionnaire
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Mitchell Garrell, Candidate for District Attorney, 2014 People's Alliance PAC Questionnaire

Mitchell Garrell, Candidate for District Attorney, 2014 People's Alliance PAC Questionnaire

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Mitchell Garrell 2014 PA-PAC Questionnaire Mitchell Garrell 2014 PA-PAC Questionnaire Document Transcript

  • 1  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: mitchellgarrell@hotmail.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 Attorney. 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 COURTROOM. 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.
  • 2  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 OF COURT. 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?
  • 3  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.
  • 4  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 ATTORNEYS OFFICE. 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.
  • 5  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 conferences? 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 CONCERNS.
  • 6  Thomas Mitchell Garrell 1508 Carolina Avenue Durham, North Carolina 27705 (919) 949-8988 mitchellgarrell@hotmail.com PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE March 2013 to present North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys Smithfield, NC 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 Partner JD Charlotte, NC Discovery Review Attorney April 1995 to January 2011 14th Prosecutorial District State of North Carolina Durham, NC 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 Raleigh, NC Staff Attorney Responded to lawsuits filed by prisoners in the North Carolina Department of Correction. EDUCATION 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