District Attorney's Office
The Team
The District Attorney's office is the largest law firm in the District (which includes New Hanover and Pender County). We have 19 Assistant District Attorneys and 25 nonlawyers, made up of victim witness assistants, investigators and court liaisons for law enforcement agencies, for a total of 45 dedicated public servants. All of them serve at the will of the elected District Attorney, which means they can be hired or fired without cause. The experience among this team is unbelievable--among the lawyers alone, for example, we have well over 100 combined years of experience prosecuting crime.

Sworn Duties
We have two primary responsibilities in the District Attorneys Office: first, to advise local law enforcement, and second, to prosecute every criminal matter in the territorial jurisdictions of both New Hanover and Pender Counties. There are more than 800 sworn law officers in over 20 different state and federal law enforcement agencies who we work with every day. We employ a police/prosecutor team approach and proactively work with officers during all of phases of a case. When cases come to trial, we set the calendar and have the burden of proof in all cases from simple traffic offenses to first degree murder. There are more than 70,000 traffic offenses and misdemeanors and over 5,000 felonies calendared each year in the Fifth District. We keep the courts running five days a week.

The Community
The Office of District Attorney belongs to the people of New Hanover and Pender County. Those of us who work in the office understand the importance of getting out into the community we represent. Every year, we speak to thousands of students at all levels in our public schools to have a dialogue about choices and consequences before they have the right to remain silent. We also hold seminars for our senior citizens on identity theft, fraud and other issues confronting them. We proactively work with area agencies and groups to confront issues as broad ranging as drug addiction to domestic violence and sexual assaults, to property offenses. Assistant District Attorneys and Victim Witness Assistants sit on the boards of charitable and civic organizations that are too numerous to mention and every person within the office is encouraged to volunteer in the community.

Setting Priorities and Setting the Tone
If everything is a priority then nothing is. Our priority has been, and will continue to be, the prosecution of violent crimes and career criminals. We will always be defined by the cases we try in front of juries; however, winning murder trials not only gives justice to victims in those individual cases, it sets the tone for the whole District. When you consistently win the big cases in front of juries, then the drug dealers, thieves and other violent offenders line up to plead guilty to their charges. This saves valuable resources and court time. The truth is, around the state, 98% of all cases result in a plea--a non-jury disposition in front of a judge. We are no different in this District and with the case volume we have, it is the only practical way to keep the docket moving.