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Columbus Co. Sheriff clarifies criticism of DA

READ MORE: Columbus Co. Sheriff clarifies criticism of DA

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- District Attorney Jon David has gone through some ups and downs since being sworn in more than ten months ago.

David, who is responsible for cases in Brunswick, Columbus and Bladen Counties was featured in this week's edition of "North Carolina Lawyers Weekly." A few strong comments by Columbus County Sheriff Chris Batten in that story have stirred up some controversy. Today, though, Batten said some of those comments were taken out of context.

David, who has already been through a battle with Chief District Court Judge Jerry Jolly over traffic court, now faces allegations Batten, who said in the story that David was giving little attention to cases in two of the three counties he served.

In the story Batten says, "I don't think Columbus and Bladen are being treated quite fairly. I think he just wants to put most of his focus on Brunswick to thank those folks in a roundabout way for putting him into office."

But Sheriff Batten says the writer only used his negative comments for the story. Batten also says he only felt that way for the first six to eight months in the David administration.

"In the last two or three months, like I spoke to the journalist about it, I think that things have really made a turn," Batten said today. "I think some of our concerns are being met and looked at, being evaluated and being worked on through the DA's office."

In the story, Batten says he would not oppose splitting the 13th Judicial District into two parts giving a different DA to Columbus and Bladen while David serves Brunswick.

"In the beginning I did entertain some comments from some citizens and attorneys and from some of the people in the judicial system about the need for a split district, where Columbus and Bladen would be separated from Brunswick," Batten told WWAY. "Right now I think Jon needs the opportunity to prove himself."

David told WWAY by phone that although this situation does not surprise him, he does deeply value the relationship he has with Batten. He also said that the man who wrote the article, Phillip Bantz, did not initially know that he had a twin brother, Ben David, who is also a District Attorney.

When WWAY reached out to Bantz, we got a response from the editor of the newspaper.

"Some people said favorable things, and others said less favorable things (about David). If Sheriff Batten now regrets his comments, that's fine. But he said them, Phillip wrote them down, and Lawyers Weekly printed them," Dan Gearino said. "There was no agenda aside from good journalism."

Batten and David may disagree about that but both do agree that they have a good relationship and look forward to working with each other the future.

"I think he's got a good leadership team going here in Columbus County, and he has brought some joint, shared, mutual admiration to what we need here in Columbus County, and that's justice for the people," Batten said.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


New Slogan

Now everyone knows the good ole public servants down there are protecting and serving: protecting the corrupt and serving the criminals!!

I know from personal

I know from personal expierence that David is just as curpt as the rest of them! He is cleaning out the honest people, and staying in cahoots with John Ingram to run "thir curption" I hope many people wake up and see who he really is!


Wanted to split the 13 th District and have 2 DA'S, 1 for each district back before the elections and most frowned on the idea. Bet many wish now it had of happened.

I don't know the people

I don't know the people involved in this story outside of what is being reported in the media. I do know from personal experience that the media almost always and without question will alter information as much as they can in order to put a negative spin on every story - and they make sure that it pushes the agenda that they want to be on the table. I don't call that 'good journalism', I call that deceptive and opportunistic. One or both of these guys should sue the reporter personally for libel since he did not tell the whole story, and put one or both of them in a negative light.


Wow, my friend just showed me the article on the DA. Unbelievable! I can't believe he said is a "wine and cheese" person. He basically says he doesn't care about poor people. This guy is unbelievable. It just shows that all he cares about is his picture in the paper. It is really sad that the people of bladen and columbus have to put up with this DA. And for the DA to say he is cleaning up corruption bit refuse to investigate his neighbor, chief Jayne...just shows how big a mistake it was to vote this guy as DA. Tough to defend this guy once you read article, but I am sure someone will try. I would ask WWAY and the Star News to publish the article to show the citizens of this area what Mr. David truly believes. Thank you.

DA - "poor, uneducated and criminal"

He need to think who serves on the jury and votes. We poor people in Columbus and Bladen deserve and demand to have a district attorney who respects us. There are a lot of us hard working poor people who try to make a better life but WE AINT NO CRIMINALS either.


I agree with you guest from Brunswick County! My mom was telling me about this during our walk this evening......he saw how fast Rex Gore lost his job. I can promise I won't be voting for him again next election! He better enjoy his wine and cheese while he can.....I am very disappointed that I actually voted and campaigned for someone like him!

Liar liar Batten

Sheriff batten is one to comment. He has cost Columbus County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars with his lies. Just look at the Marva Scott / DSS issue. He stormed into the DSS without a warrant and guns drawn claiming Marva was breaking the law. Absent a a proper court order or any court order for that matter, he claimed SBI told me to do it. The SBI quickly refuted Sheriff Batten and Columbus County taxpayers would latter pay Marva $195,000 while Sheriff Batten posted a public apology. Batten has been sued more times than this for his red neck mouthed comments. So please ask someone other than Sheriff "Thug" Batten to comment on someone like the DA.

Sheriff Batten

This Sheriff and his machine friends like Dennis Worley and the Gores must go. They are clearly mad at Mr. David as he will not let them continue to sweep dirt and take bribes. Think about it. Batten and the local establishment wanted someone local in the DA's office and not someone that was not previously with the program. I recall 6 past sheriffs of Columbus County. Batten is far more corrupt and far worse than Sheriff Bill Rhodes. Bill was removed by the Feds and I predict Batten will soon be. Only a handful has enjoyed justice in Columbus and it has been the handful supporting the campaigns of Sheriff Batten, Bill Gore, Rex Gore and a few County Commissioners. Batten and his best friends Buddy Byrd(crop fraud and Col Cor thug) and Edwin "sniffer" Russ have got by with way too much. Any DA they have an issue with is a good DA I am sure.
Columbus Corruption continues under Sheriff Chris Batten. Coming soon to a federal facility near you, "Batten goes to jail."

Batten negative comments not reported

It is a shame that I wrote 2 comments against this sheriff that has been cited for tellin lies. Another lady at my church has done the same, in fact I watched here do just that. Batten is not liked yet the local paper only reports a few positive events and never any of the wrong he has done. He has done things far worse than Ron Hewitt and he should be removed. Is a sheriff that has told lies while causing the taxpayers to settle a case for $195,000 for those lies any good? Are you all for Batten like our local newspaper? If you are going to allow this man to attack a DA that is not with the good old boy program, why not allow the rest of us to comment? We are happy that we have a DA not connected to the Gores or Sassers or the local bankers. Let us give him a chance.

Pay him off Mr. DA

If the DA would pay the sheriff of or help him throw a few cases he would love the DA. That is how it is played in Columbus County. Ring ring, "Hello" "Hi this is Mr. Lawyer." "Oh I was waiting for your call." "The trial's tomorrow at 9:30." "Yep, I see, do you have my fee?" "Yes I do or I could represent your cousin in her divorce for nothing." "Nope, times are hard, she's on her own." "I see I was only thinking about the barter system, times are hard." "My officer will be sick for the $5,000 we spoke of and he will not show again." "I'm sending it on over."
Next day: Prosecuting witness does not show and the judge dismisses the case. The DWI offender, a local business owner and a supporter of certain campaigns-walks. Now that's real justice, Columbus County style.

Hey Linnie, you hit a

Hey Linnie, you hit a homerun!

Yes linnie did

Yes Linnie, sounds like you know Columbus County or at least have an inside story on the justice system in Columbus County.

Columbus County Corruption

I have one better for you. While they have begun to do more in "open" court and thanks to the new and honest DA, they simply change the order prior to the judge's signature or, they go into the shuck in the clerk's office and destroy the original altogether and replace with an "updated" copy. Corruption in Columbus County knows no bounds. It is very sad that justice is bought and sold every day in Columbus County. The local Bar is itching to get the "new district" they have been promised. Once they push Jon David out, they are told, it will be "business as usual." Back to the barter system, huh Dennis?

Follow the Senator and you will be ok

Ladies and Gentlemen:
I know what would help. The sheriff and those crooks in power down there would love nothing better than to be an independent and free republic. Those men already run the justice system down their as a completely different system than the rest of the United States. This new DA has committed a crime since he wants to go by the book and follow the laws that are on the books. Look at the new senator. He is already with the program and following the power around, driving it around and agreeing to divide the district. So Jon David, Mr. DA, let Rabon take the lead and follow his call and you will make Sheriff Chris Batten, the judges, Mr. Tyler and the Machine very happy.

Shameful man

It is a shame that such a shameful man is sheriff. We had a district attorney cut from the same cloth. Now we have a new da and while I do not know much about him, I do know that he is not connected to the likes of Sheriff Batten. That in itself is a good thing. This sheriff has abused his job, broken laws and enforced what he wants to. He helps those connected or those that support him and his friends come election time and forgets about the rest of us. I voted for him when he first ran against Ferguson because Mr. Ferguson had become too comfortable with sitting his office. This sheriff is everywhere, collecting money. Mr. Ferguson was not a crook. This sheriff is not honest clearly. He must go. Give the new district attorney a chance and maybe he will clean up this mess those like Sheriff Batten have created. Maybe he will even clean up sheriff Batten and that is why the sheriff is so worried. The mice cannot have free rein while a new cat is in town. Right sheriff?

Good ol boys

Those Columbus County good ol boys sure do not want Mr. David as DA. The entire defense bar politicked for Rex Gore then later for Butch Pope. So it does not surprise me that this lawyer's newspaper is trashing the new DA. And who is this Chris Batten to comment? He has made all sorts of comments since going into office, some even racist. Since getting caught with his slanderous comments and being sued he often says one thing in public and another at the county diner. So this too is no surprise that he got caught running his mouth. You have to know a little about Columbus County to understand Chris Batten. It is all bad. Batten is a name not thought highly of and the only reason he got sheriff was that Jeff Etheridge, the local banker through a lot of money out, as did RC Soles, Mitchell Tyler and Rhone Sasser, a past banker. And it also helped that the sitting sheriff, Ferguson had lost touch with everyone. Any time someone runs against Batten, the Highs with the News Reporter (some other supporters) will run a trash story in favor of Batten and against his opponent. It is all bad in Columbus County.

Look Ma

Look Ma. It's liar Batten!

Yeah Yeah everybody knows

Yeah Yeah everybody knows how to be a Sheriff. Looks like the crooked ones are mad because people are getting locked up. The Deputies put them in jail because the public is complaining and the D.A. dissmisses the case and don't tell or serve the officer. The crooked lawyers made deals with the crooked D.A. thats what happens. Then u got people like crooked bail bondsman that make deals with lawyers so he can get his money. So how in the world can that be Chris Batten's fault. I read in the paper that a guy sold a detective drugs and all he got was probation after he had all kinds of drug stuff before. I guess thats all the Sheriffs fault. Lol you people need to get a life. Look at the counties around Columbus all the Sheriffs have got locked up by FEDS!!!!!!!!!!! if Batten was like that dont you think they would get him too!!!!!!!! wake up people

aint over til the fat lady sings

I would not be too cocky friend. Just because they have not got Batten does not mean they are not working on it. It took them nearly 20 years to get Sheriff Hewett while Batten has only been around for less than 10 years. Sheriff Maynor was in office for nearly 15 years before they arrested him and Sheriff Hegee was in for nearly 20 years before they hauled him away. One more for you; even though Columbus County Sheriff bill Rhodes was tried and convicted the first time, folks still called him a good and honest sheriff. That was until the Feds came back. So you never know. I voted for Batten but have since learned what he actually stands for. Anyone, you, me or my mom-if they have a problem with changing their stories, telling falsehoods etc, something is wrong. Batten has had problems his entire time in office, just look and see. And no sir, I am no criminal. I am a concerned taxpayer that loves my county and values honesty and integrity. I believe in God and the Ten Commandments. Batten should come clean and ask for forgiveness then resign.

Sir you got that right. Just

Sir you got that right. Just because your sheriff has not been indicted does not mean he is not being looked at and or eventually will or will not be. He is a very interesting character to say the least.

To Yeah Yeah everybody knows

Do you not think that those counties you write of started out someplace else? The Feds did not just walk in and haul those sheriffs away. It takes time my Bladen friend. But how do you address the lies that the sheriff has told? What about the settlement that the taxpayers had to kick out while the sheriff had to issue a public apology? How do you explain that? This new DA is "new" and not part of the same old system as the sheriff. So it might take this new DA awhile to get to work, that is, is all of the judicial attacks will die down. The thugs in the 3 county districts really know how to use their positions to tie up time and energy and they seem to do a good job at creating fires elsewhere. You obviously have no problem with putting someone in office and leaving them forever. it is a matter of public record that the sheriff has lied to the public. At the very least, how can he remain an effective player in the justice system? I have named a direct case that you can prove or disprove (i.e. Marva Scott issue.) Now, name me one single specific case to which you refer above. Just saying...

name calling

I would not call the sheriff such a name though it is clear that he has cried wolf one time too many. He cannot remain as his word and effectiveness as an officer of the law has been destroyed. Chris has done it to himself. Pray for the sheriff. Pray for our beloved county.

Batten needs to go

Thank you WWAY for allowing us a forum to expose this crook of a sheriff Batten. The local paper will not give voice to anyone against him. He is a loud mouth redneck that looks down on minorities and women and he needs to be replaced. This new DA, whom I did not vote for, must be a good one, if Batten is against him.

WWAY Story

It is good to see that WWAY does not bow to the KKK and the good old boys that run Columbus County. Unlike the only local trash rag, WWAY does not seem to have a problem with exposing the thugs. Thank you WWAY for giving the small people a voice.

Thank you wway tv3

Thank you wway tv3 for giving voice to those that do not agree with the way Columbus County is ran. From our courthouse to the government complex to the law enforcement center it is shameful how these few men have had their way. It remains to be seen how this new DA will clean things up or at the very least get things on track and the way they are supposed ot be. I see that the boys are going after him and I pray that he will not bow to their wishes or give up. The county will be much better when Mr. Batten is retired or someone else is elected. Mark Cartrette should run against him or Chief Jerry should or someone that will not take orders from those that are bad. There are few people like James Prevatte Sammy Hinson Mark Cartret Heath Nance and John David. We need more of them in this town so that the small people will have a shot at a better life. God bless you wway tv3 and God bless these men who try to make things right. I know it comes at a high price to them and their families and I pray for them all every day. John David please do not give up. Stay the course!

Give credit where credit is due

Mark Cartret and Jon David are not from here or at least Jon David is not. Cartret only moved back after college. My point is this; The folks that have done so much against the corruption like Dial Grey, Jim Maston and Joanne Garrell have worked tirelessly for the last 20 plus years trying to expose this corruption. Now Jon David and Mark Cartret and Triston Patterson come along and wham. Everybody stops and gives them the credit. What have they done besides run around giving press conferences and making the county look far worse than it has in the past. All of thei media is not good. I think these guys live in their san pelligrino world and are mad because they want to take over. David and Cartret are wealthy rulers that will swing the other way. All of the politicians are bad for our area and after 2 terms they should be gone. If the crooks that are in power go away, we will see more crooks. That's just the way it is. Look at history. Most of us can hardly pay our gas bill while ALL of these guys have nice homes away from here. They leave their offices to go home to their gated communities and do not even think of the rest of us. I do thank Mr. Davis and the others for working against this corruption but they only came in at the right time. so Mr. Davis after two terms and before you become like all these judges and the sheriff and county commissioners, please step down or run for another office.

Chris Lee Batten

Listen here Chris is no angel but he is a god fearin Christian and he deservs to be forgiven. God said this so you on here hating should be all ashamed of yourselves. I am sure that every body on here hating has told something not true some times in there lives. Chris means well and he has had much too deal with in this county and John Davis aint making it any easier. Butch Pope should have won he beat Rex and he got more county votes than Davis. So tell me if this is fair? Chris is trying to get his life together and move on. Let him be in peace. God is about love. This is about hate. This fancie pants Davis thinks he can come in here and tell us how to live. Judge Jolly shown him didnt he? Chris will show hit too if he keeps on. Chris can lock him up and now wouldn't thaty be a sight for sore eyes! Merry Christmas! God is love!


The Feds are aware of Mr. Batten and his "less than legal" achievements and questionable activities. They have been for somtime now. FYI

Columbus Corruption

I moved from there when Batten got elected. The only reason he went in was that then Sheriff Ferguson had lost touch with his job. Chris did not have a good name but claimed he was a Christian and Mr. Etheridge gave him lots of money for marketing. Billboards appeared showing a smiling Batten on every corner. The election was so close that he won by 5 votes. There was even a controversy in that there were reports that Batten and his supporters hauled migrant workers who were not citizens to the polls. Ferguson was told by the machine to back down and thus he allowed Batten to go in unchecked and no investigation ever took place. There was a little bit in the news for those of you who might remember. It was clear very early on that Batten had issues. However the only local paper befriended him for some reason and does its best to make him the hero of a dime store novel. The lies he has told, the money he has taken, the false investigations of personal nature which have cost the taxpayers lawsuits and the seized goods that have ended up on the Batten farm all speak to his character. Thank God for WWAY and for allowing the simple honest people from Columbus County a voice. It looks like everyone is now on to Batten and his days in office are finally coming to a swift end.