NAACP: Cabarrus Co inmates in jail too long without trial - WSMV News 4

NAACP: Cabarrus Co inmates in jail too long without trial

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The Cabarrus County NAACP President says inmates in Cabarrus County are waiting too long in jail for a trial.  He said this isn't a race issue and has proof some inmates have been waiting years.
The Cabarrus County District Attorney's Office said the delay isn't that long and it isn't their fault.

Lori Pitts said her son has been sitting in the Cabarrus County Jail without a trial.

"It tears a family apart," said Pitts, "Psychologically, it's probably harder on him."

Terrance Pitts was arrested for first degree murder.

"He's been in jail now 348 days," said Pitts, "He has a right to prove his innocence."

Pitts said she hasn't received an explanation from the county or the district attorney. And she turned to the Cabarrus County NAACP president, Amos McClorey for answers.

"We don't know if it's economic based, poor people who are not getting their day in court," said McClorey.

McClorey showed reporters the daily custody report he got from the Cabarrus County jail in March that shows the inmate wait time for trial isn't a race issue.

"I don't care what they're in there for I just want them to go to court," said McClorey.

McClorey said in March he counted 106 black males and 98 white males who have been sitting in jail for more than 300 days without a trial.

"This is not a prison this is a jail," said McClorey.

The Sheriff's office shared the custody report for April 16, 2014 with WBTV. It shows the longest stay for an inmate awaiting a trial is 1114 days, the shortest a matter of hours. The average for 343 inmates is 141.4 days.

The Cabarrus County NAACP's attempts to speak with the DA about it have gone unanswered.

"We'll buy you lunch and sit down and talk and give us some kind of insight into what's happening here and we've been turned down every time," said McClorey.

The Cabarrus County District Attorney Roxann Vaneekhoven's sent this statement:

"The Cabarrus County District Attorney's Office pursues its duty to seek justice in every criminal case regardless of the race or gender of the offender. We have a track record of being tough on crime, and working to restore those who have been victimized by criminals."

"I believe that the statistics used by the protestors are inaccurate. If there is a delay, ninety six percent of the time it is the defendant who is asking for a continuance. The second greatest reason cases in a trial posture get continued is because the defendant attempts to delay the process by requesting a new attorney. For example, in a recent case, a defendant had requested and received four different attorneys.  Each time he received a new attorney the case was delayed for at least 4 months to allow time for the new attorney to prepare for trial."

"Other factors that contribute to case age are SBI laboratory testing delays of 1 to 2 years, and the legislative cutbacks of the entire court system. Despite these obstacles, the Cabarrus County District Attorney's Office is in the top third in the state for quickly moving cases, and is one of the leading counties for convicting felons and reducing violent crime."

"According to Administrative Office of the Courts statistics for 2013, the median case age for pending felonies in Cabarrus County (District 19A) is 176 days which is below the statewide average. Just by way of comparison from the same set of statistics, District 19 B shows a median pending felony case age at 258 days, and District 19C's median pending felony case age is 461 days. The Administrative Office of the Court's statistics are not broken down by race, gender or type of felony charged."

McClorey heard the whole statement.

"The records don't show that. The records I look at don't show that," said McClorey.

The DA's office would not respond if the DA will sit down with NAACP to explain the process.

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