- Written by Steve Frank
Candidates got right to the point in a forum last night at the Watauga County courthouse, the very setting in which the trio of District Attorney Candidates would like to function. Burnsville attorney Seth Banks, Watauga Commission Chairman Nathan Miller, and Chief ADA Britt Springerthe three Republicans seeking the nominationtook on a number of court issues, with the form and function of the DAs Office at the front in a number of interactions during the forum, issues such as deferments of prosecution; Seth Banks said, Under the current administration, there are regularly cases deferred that are domestic violence cases. Banks said, I think thats a recipe for disaster, and These types of cases are not ones that we should be giving deferrals grantswe either win them or lose them on the merits, and then, if we win them, we can impose real consequences like supervised probation or prison. On deferment, Nathan Miller said, But there were twoone for armed robbery down here at the West End Pantry and another for an armed or attempted armed robbery at Lowes Foods. Now, the case was good enough that the DAs office brought it before the Grand Jury and got an indictment. And he said, Then they deferred it. Now what that means is that person did some community service, did a little supervised probation. Then the case was dismissed. They put those clerks in fear for their lives. Thats not right. And chief ADA Britt Springer responded, These breaks that Mr. Millers talking aboutguess whatwere calling the calendar, were ready to proceed, (then) all the defense attorneys will say hold the case open, I need to talk to my client. So this happens regularly that we cant try a case because the defense attorneys are outside talking to their clients that they havent talked to yet. So, in my administration, whats going to happen is were just going to start calling the trials, and then at that point hopefully the defense attorneys will fall in line and be ready before court. The candidates forum was sponsored by the Watauga Domestic Abuse Response Team / Sexual Abuse Response Team and local Bar Association. The May primary will most likely determine the next DA as there are no Democrats on the ballot in the fall, and that primary is a week from today, but voters have been casting their ballots in early voting since last Thursday, and will be able to until Saturday at 1. The job opened when former DA Jerry Wilson announced that he would retire at the end of the year, then quickly retired a month ago due to health reasons.