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Old 10-13-2008, 07:41 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 70,215,481 times
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I really do not know much about our DA, but do feel the DA's office is the weak link in our justice system, in that too many cases are pled down to lesser offenses just to get the books closed on them.

I have googled him - but really can't find much.

Anyone have the inside scoop on Gilchrist? Can you provide links about his career, personal philosophy, etc?

I know that the mantra here is that the DA's office is over-burdened and under-staffed. Isn't that what every DA's office says - in any city across the country? Is our DA's office really underfunded and therefore, understaffed? And if that is true - WHY?

I believe the "Revolving Door" policy here . . . plus the Hug-A-Thug mentality - has everything to do w/ the crime on our streets . . . and I think the public needs some answers - and some alternatives to getting this situation under control.

So can you all weigh in w/ info on Gilchrist in particular - and the DA's office, in general?
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Rock Hill, SC
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Morning, my dear Anifani. There doesn't appear to be much out there in the way of "official" info available. Not sure if you found the following, but some links on the charmeck.org site led me eventually to this brief bio and this very brief bio.

Here is an interview with DA Gilchrist that appeared in Charlotte Magazine back in April 2005 and added to the magazine's web page back in June of this year.

Here is a little more backgound (http://www.ncbar.org/ncLawyer/10/1671/index.aspx?type=article - broken link) on him found on the NC Bar Association's website, related to the NCBA awarding him the first Renaissance Lawyer award in 2006

Here is commentary made by various officials from both within Meck. County and from surrounding counties re the need and intention to, where possible, prosecute cases outside of Mecklenburg County in order to assure that the punishment fits the crime.

Here is a link to the Justice and Safety Task Force, created earlier this year by the Charmeck Board of County Commissioners to stimulate non-partisan citizen support (http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/County+Managers+Office/Justice+and+Safety/Home.html - broken link) and input in identifying solutions to the problem. There is much info on this web page that you might find interesting, including a link via which citizens can submit comments and questions to this task force.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:44 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 70,215,481 times
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Well, hello there, ARGirl! Thank you so much for the helpful links!

I think the info on the Task Force is really helpful . . .

I have heard some info on Chief Monroe and DA Gilchrist perhaps butting heads . . . I find that very interesting. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for PD when they manage to get the thugs off the streets - only to have them turned over in a "Catch and Release" justice program thru/ the DA's office.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:00 AM
 
575 posts, read 1,394,299 times
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Gilshrist needs to make plea deals with the devil/prisoners on a daily basis which are a causing the law abiding citizens to become victims from these recidivist. You can thank the city leaders for putting him in this position. Maybe Chief Monroe will light a fire under their azzes to get more prosecutors and jail space, ANKLE BRACELETS DON'T WORK!
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:06 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 70,215,481 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamondplayer View Post
Gilshrist needs to make plea deals with the devil/prisoners on a daily basis which are a causing the law abiding citizens to become victims from these recidivist. You can thank the city leaders for putting him in this position. Maybe Chief Monroe will light a fire under their azzes to get more prosecutors and jail space, ANKLE BRACELETS DON'T WORK!
So the DA is appointed? I thought he was elected. I need to do some research, LOL.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:11 AM
 
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The Interview: Peter Gilchrist Written by Richard Thurmond Sunday, 01 June 2008 Originally published in April 2005
Peter Gilchrist, sixty-five, has been Mecklenburg County's district attorney for thirty-two years, an astounding tenure for an elected official of a sometimes-controversial office. No one has ever run against him.

This is from the above link that AmericanRoadGirl provided. What I find interesting (and sad) is that no one has ran against him.

I know some Charlotte LE that are very frustrated w/having arresting someone and then they are out of jail before they get the paperwork completed!!
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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I don't have the answer to the question you are asking, Ani, but I think that the problem must be viewed from a 360 degree perspective to include the questions you are asking and these additional questions:

1. Are offenses being pled down because the ADAs are not getting the evidence they need from overworked police investigators to get convictions?

2. Are offenses being pled down because of overcrowding and prisons and jails, which means people just get out sooner anyway? In other words, does it matter if the DA goes after everyone it can, because there's not room to house them in the system?

I don't know the answers to these quetions but it seems to me the issue has got to be larger than just the DAs office.

I DO know that yes, they are overworked and understaffed. The case loads on ADAs are staggering and they often don't have time for a full review of the files. Not to mention that starting salary at the DAs office is (or was when I graduated law school) in the mid $30k range... that's about as low as you can get in the legal world.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,246 posts, read 92,504,986 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlTravels View Post
I don't have the answer to the question you are asking, Ani, but I think that the problem must be viewed from a 360 degree perspective to include the questions you are asking and these additional questions:

1. Are offenses being pled down because the ADAs are not getting the evidence they need from overworked police investigators to get convictions?

2. Are offenses being pled down because of overcrowding and prisons and jails, which means people just get out sooner anyway? In other words, does it matter if the DA goes after everyone it can, because there's not room to house them in the system?

I don't know the answers to these quetions but it seems to me the issue has got to be larger than just the DAs office.

I DO know that yes, they are overworked and understaffed. The case loads on ADAs are staggering and they often don't have time for a full review of the files. Not to mention that starting salary at the DAs office is (or was when I graduated law school) in the mid $30k range... that's about as low as you can get in the legal world.
It's a problem with multi-layers I think. This is what I have been able to find out:

I have been told by an insider that the DA's office will only take to trial the criminals they are fairly confident they can convict. If there is not quite enough evidence, or the case will be more difficult to prove, they tend to kick the case out. This is not so much an attempt to keep their conviction numbers up and make them look good, as it is just a survival technique. The DA's office is literally drowning in cases that they do not have enough assistant DA's to work on. They feel they HAVE to chose only the best cases to try and then let the rest go.

Additionally, one thing that makes their job getting someone convicted MUCH tougher is that too many witnesses just will not cooperate. Without good witnesses, a case is considered "iffy" on a conviction, so the guy walks.
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:46 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
6,959 posts, read 7,488,790 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlTravels View Post
I DO know that yes, they are overworked and understaffed. The case loads on ADAs are staggering and they often don't have time for a full review of the files. Not to mention that starting salary at the DAs office is (or was when I graduated law school) in the mid $30k range... that's about as low as you can get in the legal world.
GirlTravels - I think your last line amply illustrates the crux of the problem. What lawyer in their right mind is going to work for $30K? I though that was the kind of money that a starting paralegal or secretary would make. Gilchrist is a very soft-spoken person that basically stated that fact, in a recent interview, but I had no idea that the starting salary was that low. It's a wonder they have any ADAs at those levels!

As far as jail overcrowding, when I left NJ, the old jail by me that was built for 800 was housing 1800. Jail officials would complain about overcrowding, but the sheriff was still trying to "recruit" prisoners from the overcrowded Philadelphia system for the extra money. The response from the public about jail overcrowding - "Too bad so sad"! Jail isn't supposed to be an adult day care center.

Maybe Charlotte should be packing them in like sardines and quit worrying about overcrowding. The bail could be tripled from what it usually is and maybe these lowlifes would stay off the street longer. No one is going to care too much if these young crooks become the new "girlfriends" of some of the inmates and maybe that would provide a little motivation for them to stay out of jail. The other day there was a story on WBTV about how approximately 400-500 people are behind much of the crime in Charlotte. Just the other night Rob Tufano mentioned that some teenager who had committed serious robberies got sent back to jail on $250,000 bail. Raise that amount to $750,000 on those 400-500 offenders and much of Charlotte's crime will disappear!
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:04 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,883 posts, read 70,215,481 times
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Em, I have an idea. We need to find a good retired person to run for DA. The low salary would be ok if one has a pension coming in!

Someone needs to run against Gilchrist and get some "order in the court."
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