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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Bladen County Jail has been housing inmates for years before the prisoners see a courtroom.

The Bladen County Jail is home to some people who are charged with violent crimes, including robbery, rape and murder.

Ryan Smithwick is a local attorney running for District Attorney. Over the weekend he posted a story on his campaigns Facebook page that says violent crime has increased in Bladen County, but District Attorney Jon David says there’s more to the story.

“As District Attorney I could not be more proud of the team that I have in place in Bladen County. They are doing a wonderful job,” said David.

Since his election in 2010, District Attorney Jon David says he’s seen crime drop significantly in Brunswick and Columbus County’s, but not in Bladen County.

“If we look at efficiency numbers district wide is our efficiency is improving dramatically even as conviction rates are going up,” said David.

David says more inmates remain behind bars for a longer period of time for several reasons including; attorney changes, continuances and the back log at the state laboratory.

“When folks are in jail that means we are maximizing a resource too. It means the community is protected from them while their cases are pending,” said David.

In a statement on Monday, Smithwick says, “Cases need to be tried and sent to the Department of Corrections, which would save local tax payers money and would send a message to violent criminals.”

District Attorney Jon David says two of the inmates who have been in jail for several years will head to trial next week.

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9 Comments on "Inmates housed in Bladen County Jail for years before trial"

2015 years 10 months ago

I can’t see any valid reason for someone to be in jail for years waiting trial. What happened to a speedy trial? Just for arguments sake suppose these people are innocent, even if they are guilty they deserve a trial.

2015 years 10 months ago

People have the right to request a speedy trail

2015 years 10 months ago

I find David’s comment a little bit odd. “When folks are in jail that means we are maximizing a resource too. It means the community is protected from them while their cases are pending.” This statement implies that if someone is in jail then they are guilty. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? I’m all for guilty people being in jail and I understand that sometimes innocent people are held in jail until they actually make it to trial. Regardless of those facts I find his statement ill-advised and it is contrary to entire premise of the judicial system. He can rationalize and try to excuse the lengthy wait time for trial, but please don’t justify the situation by saying that the public is safer and that makes the system backlog okay. In this situation David would have been better off saying “no comment.” However, politicians rarely think about the fact that sometimes it is better to just be silent. Perhaps they should consider that it may just be that how well you do your job speaks for itself and there isn’t a need to speak loudly about how well you’re doing it.

2015 years 10 months ago

These inmates are there for a reason. The cops and district attorney didn’t just pull a name out of a hat and decide to charge “Junior” with a crime. If they are placed in jail, it is because there exists “probable cause” that he/she committed a specific crime or crimes. If the probable cause is weak, their attorney, retained or court appointed can request the bond reduced, seek a dismissal or plea to a lesser charge.
Remember the fifth amendment right to remain silent. If the defendant remains silent, the only info the cops have is what the witnesses and the evidence shows. Most attorneys will advise their client to remain silent because when they open their mouths, they dig the hole deeper.

Country gal
2015 years 10 months ago

Are we to feel sorry for these violent offenders who are “suffering” long wait times in jail before going to trial? What would they be doing on the outside … working? Probably not. Raping, murdering and committing more violent crimes? Probably! They are being fed, housed and clothed — at taxpayers’ expense. Seems like those of us who work hard, pay taxes and don’t commit crimes are the ones who should be complaining.

2015 years 10 months ago

The 6th Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to counsel or to be represented by an attorney. It also affords the right to a speedy trial. One of the main reasons is that the LONGER it takes to bring one to trial, the more likely it is for unfortunate circumstances to happen which make conviction LESS LIKELY….officers move, witnesses die, cannot remember the events or become unavailable, evidence disappears or cannot be located. Which is why sex offenders who sit in jail 3 years are pleading to charges which land them on probation, back in our community.

If justice comes swiftly, the guilty can be transported to the Department of Corrections where they belong….in maximum custody facilities….not in local jails to the tune of $80 per day of the county’s budget and local tax payers money!!

The District Attorney CONTROLS the CRIMINAL CALENDAR!!! Not Judges, Sheriff’s or the Local BAR. The BUCK STOPS with JON DAVID

2015 years 10 months ago

You don’t know how the justice system works in SE NC do you? People are usually in jail because they pissed someone off, failed to pay someone off, or they just don’t know the right people. Real justice is in scant supply around here. The worst criminals never see the inside of the prison system in this part of the small town south.

Hey DA Im Not Guilty
2015 years 10 months ago

Not Everyone Is Guilty

2015 years 10 months ago

I love how David avoids the issue. The state of the jail population does not address the rising crime rate. And he obviously does not care about a person’s Constitutionally guaranteed right to a speedy trial. He needs to quit making excuses and do the job that he was elected to do.

As far as Smithwick’s statement… We, the taxpayers, bear the brunt of housing these people whether they are in jail or prison. The difference is that the poorer counties have their financial burden lifted somewhat when the criminals are in prison.


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