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BYHs to all those local rednecks and others who tune their mufflers up real loud!What you going to do when mister...

Survey answers: Pitt District Court Judge

Nancy Ray.jpg
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Nancy Ray

Jay Saunders.jpg
Daniel Entzminger.jpg
Wendy Hazelton.jpg
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Beth Velliquette

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Daily Reflector asked candidates in the March 15 primary to fill out brief surveys outlining their qualifications. Following are responses from the candidates running to replace David Leech for Pitt County District Court judge. Earl Brown, who was killed in wreck Feb. 20, also will be on the ballot.

Daniel Entzminger

List a few highlights from you personal and professional life that you think best show you are qualified for the office you seek.

I am a private practice attorney with nearly 13 years of practice experience in the District and Superior Courts of Pitt County. At an early age, I began working in the restaurant business for my grandfather, at the Dixie Queen Seafood Restaurant. This experience, perhaps more than any other, helped teach me the value of working hard, how to relate to and communicate with other people, and how to be a servant to the community. Those lessons have served me well in my law practice, as those same skills are essential to being successful in the courtroom. I have represented thousands of clients, working hard to serve them with professional legal representation. I teach business law at Pitt Community College and volunteer as a youth soccer and basketball coach.

Tell us briefly what you hope will be a signature achievement from your time in office if you are elected.

If I am elected, I hope to bring my work ethic and professionalism to the District Court bench. I believe that we need judges who will work hard to uphold the Constitution and the laws of our state while treating people fairly. My goal is to preside in a courtroom that operates in a respectful and efficient manner.

Tell us briefly what most distinguishes you from your opponents.

I believe that my experience in district court distinguishes me from the other candidates in this particular race. Over the last decade, my practice has been comprised in large part on cases in district court. I believe that the best choice for district court judge is someone who has experience in district court. In addition to my experience in district court, I believe that my close ties to our community also separate me from my opponents. My family has been in Pitt County for five generations. The people of Pitt County can trust that I will work hard to make our community better, for the good of all our citizens.

Website: http://entzmingerforjudge.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danielhinesentzmingerforjudge/

Wendy Hazelton

Please list a few highlights from your personal and professional life that you think best show you are qualified for the office you seek.

I have had the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge and experience through the practice of law and to learn the courtroom processes and procedures. I have also been an active public servant by participating in various activities and organizations such as Teen Court, Democratic Women of Pitt County, Ayden Rotary, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the African American Caucus. These have afforded me the opportunity to speak with the citizens of Pitt County and to hear their concerns and to listen to their suggestions as to what could be done to make our criminal justice system more accessible to the county as a whole. I have taken those concerns, along with what I have identified through my practice, and formulated a plan to bring progression and change to the citizens while making a difference from the bench.

Tell us briefly what you hope will be a signature achievement from your time in office if you are elected:

I hope to be able to help reduce the recidivism (repeat offending) rate in Pitt County. Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result. If we can change behaviors, we can definitely change results; repeat offending is one of those results. When applicable, I would use the existing community programs that promote the development of life skills and provide positive outcomes for offenders. We have access to workable solutions, for example, the Career Readiness Certificate and the Youth at Work Programs offered at Pitt Community College. These programs are designed to assist and connect individuals with various services and job skills that will prepare them for the work force. By providing positive alternative tools to offenders, we provide them with the opportunity to succeed.

Tell us briefly what most distinguishes you from your opponents.

When I made the announcement in October 2015 to run for District Court judge, I wanted to be very transparent as to what I thought I could bring to the judicial bench. For the last eight years working as an assistant public defender, I truly believe that I have made a difference in the lives of many of the people I have touched through legal representation. However, I have also identified some areas in our criminal justice system that need some additional focus and attention. In addition to reducing repeat offending, I am confident that a difference can be made from the bench by case-tailoring probationary sentences to address the purpose and goal of the probation, promoting and supporting community policing by helping build partnerships and collaboration to problem-solve and build trust between the community and law enforcement, and to continue to make sure fairness and justice for all is afforded to everyone our court system touches.

Website: www.hazeltonforjudge.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hazeltonforjudge/

Nancy Ray 

List a few highlights from you personal and professional life that you think best show you are qualified for the office you seek:

I attended college through an early entrance program, graduating from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va, in 1998 at the age of 18 and from law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the age of 21 in May 2001. Currently I am a Pitt County magistrate and on the faculty at East Carolina University teaching business law and insurance law. From 2001-12 I was an attorney in juvenile law, family law, criminal law, mental health law, general civil litigation. Civic and community service includes work with the Pitt County Guardian Ad Litem program; Pitt County Teen Court judge; Greenville Noon Rotary; Pitt County Community Collaborative on Mental Health board; REAL Crisis Center board; and the Greenville Jaycees.

Tell us briefly what you hope will be a signature achievement from your time in office if you are elected.

I would like to lead an effort to reform Pitt County’s system for issuing citizen warrants. We need a standardized process for the issuance of warrants in order to prevent misuse of warrants by citizens. Ideally, all actors in the court system, including magistrates, judges, clerks, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, could work together on a system to reduce the number of hasty, ill-advised, or unfounded warrants. Also I would like to lead an effort to begin a Mental Health Treatment Court, similar to our county’s drug court. Such a court would be designed to help persons with mental health issues who would likely commit further misdemeanors if their conditions were left untreated.

Tell us briefly what most distinguishes you from your opponents.

I am the only candidate who has actual judicial experience. As a magistrate, I am considered a judicial officer of the District Court. I preside over Pitt County’s small claims court, where I hear evidence, render decisions, and enter court orders. I perform a number of judicial functions that are also assigned to District Court judges, including issuing search warrants and setting bonds in criminal cases.

Website: http://www.rayforjudge.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rayforjudge/

Jay Saunders

List a few highlights from you personal and professional life that you think best show you are qualified for the office you seek:

I grew up on my family’s farm in Nash County and earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in philosophy from UNC-Charlotte in 1996 and a law degree from Campbell University School of Law in 1999. I started a small law firm in Greenville in 1999 and continued in private practice until 2008. Experience includes state and federal criminal law, juvenile law, civil litigation, municipal law, real estate transactions, bankruptcy, and estate planning. Entered public service in 2008 as assistant public defender for Pitt County. In 2013 became assistant district attorney for Pitt County, concentrating in felony child abuse, sexual assaults, and felony domestic violence prosecutions. Also sit on multi-disciplinary teams that aid in the investigation and prosecution of these types of crimes, as well as assisting their victims.

Tell us briefly what you hope will be a signature achievement from your time in office if you are elected.

My goal is the same that any judge should want to achieve. That is to maintain consistency, fairness, and equal application of the rule of law to all citizens in all situations.

Tell us briefly what most distinguishes you from your opponents.

I have a broad range of experience in different areas of the law from my time in private practice and public service. I have counseled people from all walks of life, and have experienced criminal and civil court from both sides of the courtroom. As a prosecutor of serious violent felonies, I am called upon daily to make difficult decisions which have serious consequences, which is invaluable preparation for the judiciary.

Please provide links to your website and social media:

Webite: www.saunders4judge.com

Facebook: Jay Saunders for Judge

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