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Columbus Co. Sheriff clarifies criticism of DA

READ MORE: Columbus Co. Sheriff clarifies criticism of DA
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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.

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Thanks WWAY

Thank you WWAY for allowing a voice for the concerns which the local paper has hid. Maybe we can move on towards electing some new officials since their problems are out in the open. Brunswick County removed a bad sheriff and Robeson also removed a bad sheriff. Both counties sent otherwise popular men to prison after their crimes had got out. This was no thanks to the local paper in those counties either but WRAL and the News and Observer that broke both of those stories on corruption. I predict that Sheriff Batten and a few more maybe even judges will end up in the state DOC hotel before this is over.God bless you all for your work and exposure.

Cartrette Dutton or Smith

If TJ Barrett was still alive I would go for him. He was one of the most honest law enforcement officers you could find. He has since gone to be with the Lord and we are all at a loss. However the only officials able to be the sheriff that Columbus County needs could easily be found in Mark Cartrette, David Dutton or Doug Smith. These guys are not the type to take orders from Mitch Tyler or his corrupt machine. These guys say what they feel and believe and they never appear to be politically correct. If gentlemen like these do not step up and run, we will go further down the tube. Just look at the sheriff's right hand friend, Edwin Russ. It is bad folks and must get better. Thank you TV3 for your fair reporting and this forum.

Edwin Russ Battens friend

Well WWAY, Batten and Commissioner Edwin Russ have played Columbus County for sometime now. It is just now coming out in the paper how Russ has benefited from his job with the County. Voting for Waste Management to get contracts while he hides a relationship with them is wrong and criminal. Look into Russ' and Batten's dealings WWAY. Russ and Batten have taken things from those Batten has arrested despite the law that requires Batten to put such up for public auction. What about the jeep sheriff? The Kubota? How can you guys sleep at night?

http://www.whiteville.com/articles/2011/12/13/news/doc4ee6175a3cd7192134...

Batten's best friend and co-conspirator is Edwin Russ.

Leave Russ family along

They are thick as honey Edwin and Chris. Whoever you are you do not know Edwin or his family. They have sacrificed much so that Columbus citizens could have better government. You should be ashamed talking about Edwin and Chris. That commissioners job pays no money and it is not wrong if Edwin holds other jobs. He works a bunch for charity too so what of it? You want to take him away from helping people too? He works all of the time and never gets to see his family. This site should be shut down and if Chris finds out who you all are slandering Edwin and his daughter you will go to jail and never get out. Now tell me what you think of that? Hogwash and baloney is all this is and meant to hurt some good people. Most people in Columbus County cant read or right and some cannot even tie their shoes. Edwin sacrifices so much for these poor folks and you should be ashamed. But I will tell you this. He is done nothing wrong and he will be in office until he decides to retire or go meet our lord. It is up to him and not you you red neck Columbus County back woods hicks that complain. If you do not like the Russ family then you can move away. We are hear to stay. Merry Christmas to all. WWAY should be ashamed and only reports garbage and all but about 5 people even watch that trash station.

The Infamous Sheriff Batten strikes again

WWAY you usually report better news. Did you not know about Sheriff Batten's reputation before you asked him to comment? To have him comment on Jon David's credibility is like asking the President of Iran, who denies the Holocaust, to comment on building a better Israel. Sheriff Batten has no merit. He has told so many lies and proven that law enforcement can go down the tubes while being bought. He enforces only laws broken against his supporters and friends. He is of the same caliber of the former DA, Rex Gore. He covers up crimes committed by a few of his deputies or at least the ones connected to or kin to his family or his wife's family. He conducts personal investigations, breaks into homes without court orders (and the DSS building). He uses his weight and his office to bully others around. He is a tool of the Columbus County good old boys and he plays that part well. He is no one to comment on an honest politician. Funny. Thanks for the laugh WWAY. Now let’s get on to some real news.

Get Rid of Chris Batten

and clean up Columbus County.

Sheriff Batten needs to go

amen. i agree. he is way too corrupt like rex gore. he should go. vot him out for good!

Stop this mularki

If Sheriff Chris Batten finds out who all you gobble d gook liars are he will see to it you are thrown in jail. You should respect law enforcement better than this and you all should be thankful for his service. This site should be shut down and if I know Chris he is going to a judge and getting an order to find out who you all are. And if you make it to his list you will be put in the jail like the criminals you are. I pray for you and peace on earth. Now stop.

In Jail?

So what reason would the sheriff throw these folks in jail? For commenting against him or disagreeing with him? A sheriff cannot simply conduct investigations on a whim and lock up people without a warrant and probable cause. And in the US, even in Columbus County, he cannot imprison those that protest against him. Such acts are welcome in places like China and North Korea but not here. Not yet anyway.

Col. Billy Evans USMC ret.

passing thru

I happened through that little corner of the world. We were doing vacation and headed to Myrtle Beach. Met this sheriff by happen stance. Seems he had a road check. As an attorney and while waiting in line for my family's turn, I watched in awe as this big beastly looking man talked down to others. He even made kids and old folks "step to the rear NOW!" When it was our turn I was questioned on my New Hampshire plates. Why was I this far away from home? Had I ever been arrested for drugs? To which I replied, No criminal record as I am an attorney. The big man replied, "Makes no difference, I have put away many attorneys- step to the rear!" I then asked for a supervisor. All of the other officers began to laugh. I am the big dog the big guy claimed. He then told us to have a nice day and handed me a card. It was Sheriff Chris Batten. I later contacted the office of the district attorney. A young lady on the phone told me that she wasn't surprised of my story and claimed that she had many more calls on the sheriff. I emphatically stated that I would file a complaint or a suit but I wanted to make a statement otherwise. Days later I received a call from Rex Gore who said he was the district attorney in charge. He was kind and nice and apologetic but claimed that the sheriff was under a lot of stress. he went on to say that the sheriff had done a great job and spoke highly of him. I replied that many thought Fidel Castro was a fine person as well. However a sheriff should not go around violating civil liberties and harassing citizens. The conversation went nowhere. I was later contacted by the county attorney named Fowler and received somewhat of an apolology with a promise that the sheriff would receive a "talking to." I later learned that the county attorney, Steven Fowler, was also let go. So I am not surprised to read that the district attorney was thrown out. Neither do these comments on Sheriff Batten surprise me. He like the former district attorney should go. Rights are nothing to play with. Looks like this new district attorney is causing a stir in the good sheriff's camp. Good. a Internet search shows many complaints against the sheriff and also shows that one of his men, Danny Duncan was sent to federal prison for violating rights. Again, am I surprised? Not one bit. The media should be commended for allowing comments. It should also investigate Sheriff Batten and his operating practices. Just might find something there.

Batten is another slug down there

Some things have remained the same in Columbus County. There, you see, are two powerful and corrupt political machines. One is ran by Mitch Tyler and the other is controlled by Dennis Worley. These captains of crime have their schemes down to a science and make the Cosa Nostra look like a kindergarten. Nearly ALL judges are connected and a few powerful law firms have benefited by thrown criminal and civil cases, rigged juries, fraudulent land deals and you can just about name it. Political activists have been organized to man the poles while voters (some who cannot read) are ferried to the polls on Election Day. From a ten dollar bill to promises of appointments to committees and jobs, these Columbus County power brokers use any tool available. Sadly Old Lady Justice is a criminal in Columbus County and the courthouse has become another platform for a power base. More cases have been decided at 9 p.m. on a Friday and in a bar room or on a golf course than from the bench and in a court room. A few bankers and attorneys like Jeff Etheridge, Rhone Sasser, Dennis Worley, RC Soles, Jim Hill, and ex-judge Bill Gore have disgraced politics and the law practice field. They even went so far as to solicit, endorse and now own Senator Bill Rabon. Never mind Rabon was with another political party, they sensed the need for change-and they turned their hats around and gave it! I can understand why they would not want the likes of a DA who is not from this area hanging around. So what did they do? RC Soles first tried to divide the district and further isolate the power grid. When the press caught on and it was made public that the corrupt Rex Gore might be reappointed to a newly-formed prosecutorial district (just like Rhone Sasser had RC do with the judicial district for his son Doug Sasser), the people became angry(and reached out to the lawmakers) and the idea quickly went away. The plan now appears to be to go after the new DA's reputation or at the very least to tie him up in litigation, while draining his resources. I believe it is called Columbus County character assassination. Next thing they will do is forge or alter some documents against the DA or send a nice looking lady into the DA's office and claim some sexual harassment lie. These men in Columbus County will do anything to maintain power and quench their greedy appetite. Roy Cooper has allowed it to foster into a major enterprise this Columbus County corruption. The next governor and attorney general should be made aware of how bad things have become and should appoint a special prosecutor to look into Operation Soccer, the six schools which have burned and the seven stores Rep. Dewey Hill has had to burn. Accordingly the vote buying and graveyard votes should be looked further into.

Is that why "she" didn't

Is that why "she" didn't want PHOTO ID at voting precincts?