Republican DA candidates Q&A
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Lee Allen and Glenn Perry will face off Tuesday in Republican primary for Pitt County District Attorney. The winner will face the Democratic nominee in November. Current District Attorney Kimberly Robb is is running for a seat in the state senate. Polls are open Tuesday between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Below, Allen and Perry answer questions prepared by The Daily Reflector.
Q. Many believe that a deep bias exists in the criminal justice system against African-Americans, particularly against young black men. Is this true in your experience and how can it be addressed? Otherwise, should this perception be addressed? Why or why not?
Allen: The district attorney must ensure that people within the criminal justice system be treated fairly and appropriately, be they defendants, witnesses or victims. I am concerned that all victims, in all neighborhoods, be given the assistance they need the respect they deserve. I am especially concerned about victims of violent crime. My office will make sure that the voices of victims are heard in our courtrooms. Ours is a nation of laws, and justice cannot be influenced by anything other than the law and the facts of the case. The district attorney, by upholding his or her ethical and moral obligation to see justice done, should help to combat improper bias within the criminal justice system. I will treat all individuals fairly and will not tolerate racial or other unlawful discrimination.
Perry: Based on my experience, I do not believe the criminal justice system is biased against African-Americans. Sadly, young black men are often the victims of violent crimes committed by other young black men. The perception about the bias has to be addressed, and the trust between the African-American community and law enforcement must be restored. It is critical that people have confidence in our police and the court system. I will have an open door policy for people to talk to me and ask questions about issues related to crime and the court system.
Q. What is the district attorney's role in the enforcement of illegal immigration? Should law enforcement in Pitt County do more to deport those who are here illegally but who are otherwise working and abiding by our laws?
Allen: I agree wholeheartedly with the immigration polices of the president. However, with regard to the local district attorney’s office, federal immigration policy is not an issue over which the Pitt County District Attorney has jurisdiction. Local law enforcement does not and cannot deport anyone. The United States government deports. Illegal immigration cases are heard in federal court and not in state court. Because the district attorney’s office cannot deport anyone, the focus of this campaign should be on the need for that office to try more cases, to win more of the cases that are tried, and using the available court time to reduce the number of people in jail awaiting trial at a cost to the taxpayers of this county of $77 per person, per day.
Perry: I support efforts to stop illegal immigration and secure our borders. The prosecution of illegal immigration is primarily a role of the United States Attorney. However, the district attorney can play an in important role in the prosecution of federal crimes occurring in Pitt County, including immigration crimes, by partnering with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. One key aspect of this partnership is assigning an assistant district attorney as a special assistant United States attorney. During my nine and a half years as a special assistant United States attorney, I prosecuted many drug traffickers who were in the U.S. illegally. Many of these defendants had been deported previously based on prior drug trafficking convictions, only to return to our country to continue trafficking drugs.
Q. What do you think is the No. 1 crime problem in Pitt County? Why and how will you address it?
Allen: All crime in Pitt County is a problem, especially, for the victims of those crimes. One of my biggest concerns is the people who continue to break the law while they’re awaiting trial on other charges. As your district attorney, I promise to try more cases, try those cases more quickly, win more of those cases and take these criminals off the street, making our county safer.
Perry: I believe drugs remain the leading crime problem in the nation and in Pitt County. Drug addiction destroys the addict, the addict’s family and entire communities. Defendants addicted to drugs continue to commit the majority of property crimes, such as burglaries and thefts, to support their addictions. Turf battles between dealers and gangs, while not as common in Pitt County as they once were, continue to be a cause of violence. We must use a multi-faceted approach to battle the drug problem, including opioid addiction. We must improve efforts to prevent drug use in the first place, increase treatment of the addicted, and aggressively prosecute drug traffickers. Until society seriously addresses preventing drug addiction in the first place and helping the addicted recover, addicts will continue committing crimes to buy drugs. Drug traffickers, including street gangs and Mexican cartels, will continue to fight over territory so they can sell drugs to make money.
Q. Why should people vote for you over your opponent?
Allen: The current Pitt County District Attorney’s Office lacks leadership. I am the only person seeking the office of Pitt County District Attorney to have served as an assistant district attorney, an Army officer and in private practice. I have supervised and led soldiers, lawyers, legal staff, employees and met a payroll on a monthly basis. I am best able to lead the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office in the direction it needs to go. We must have new leadership to change the disturbing statistics we have seen from that office, by trying more cases and winning more of the cases that are tried. I am confident that my leadership abilities will help the office accomplish these tasks and make Pitt County safer.
Perry: My experience, dedication and leadership make me the most qualified candidate for Pitt County District Attorney. My 26 years as an assistant district attorney under the last three district attorneys and my service as a special assistant U.S. attorney under the last four U.S. attorneys have prepared me well to be district attorney. I know the demands of the job. I already have long-standing relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, other district attorney’s offices, and the United States Attorney’s Office. I’ve prosecuted hundreds of violent felons and drug traffickers. I’ve tried over 120 jury trials in state and federal court, including capital murder cases. My focus in state court has been prosecuting violent crime, including murders, robberies and felonious assaults. My federal prosecutions focused on dismantling large scale drug trafficking organizations, including Mexican drug cartels, operating in Pitt and surrounding counties.
Facebook: Lee Allen For District Attorney
Current position: Family law attorney
Professional Experience: Assistant district attorney, U.S. JAG Corps officer, family lawyer
Political experience: First time running for office.
Current position: Assistant District Attorney
Professional Experience: Special assistant U.S. Attorney, assistant district attorney, corporate tax lawyer, DEA and SBI instructor, criminal justice instructor.
Political experience: Ran for District Court judge in 2000.