Burr Campaign Releases New TV Ad: DA

Burr Campaign Releases New TV Ad: DA

 “We simply cannot trust Deborah Ross’ dangerous record”

Raleigh, NC — The Burr campaign today released its newest TV ad, “DA,” featuring Forsyth District Attorney Jim O’Neill discussing the dangerous actions Deborah Ross carried out as the top lobbyist for the ACLU. The ad will begin running immediately on statewide broadcast.

In the ad, O’Neill states that as a prosecutor, “Deborah Ross’ dangerous record angers [him],” citing Ross’ fight against the public disclosure of sex offenders as a leading reason. O’Neill goes on to detail how Ross also sued to end the 48-hour “cooling-off” period designed to protect victims of domestic violence and voted against a bill that allowed law enforcement officials to collect DNA evidence from bomb makers upon arrest. These actions are consistent with Ross’ well documented pattern of prioritizing convicted criminals over the needs and safety of victims and their families.

Background:

Ross Opposed The Creation Of The North Carolina Sex Offender Registry

RECORDS: In An August 1995 Memo, Ross Slammed The Creation Of A Sex Offender Registry In North Carolina, Saying “This Bill Would Make It Even Harder For People To Reintegrate Into Society And Start Over And Could Lead To Vigilantism.” “SB 53 – Sex Offender Registration. This bill requires sex offenders, who have already served their time, to register with local authorities whenever they move to a new location. Any member of the public would have access to the sex offender list, complete with address. Despite the fact that this bill would make it even harder for people to reintegrate into society and start over and could lead to vigilantism, it passed both houses and is now law.” (Deborah Ross, Memo To The Legislative Committee Of The ACLU-NC, 8/4/95)

A 1995 Burlington Times Article Makes Clear That Deborah Ross Opposed The Creation Of North Carolina’s Sex Offender Registry. “Sex offenders’ names, addresses, photographs, fingerprints and details of their conviction will be kept in a register at the sheriff’s office. Anyone from the public can ask to review, and in some cases get copies, of the register. But some groups don’t the new law will help the public. Deborah Ross, executive/legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, said about 90 percent of all sex offenses are committed by friends and relatives, not strangers who move in next door.” (Andy Barksdale, “Sex Offender Law Takes Effect Monday,” Burlington Times-News, 12/31/95)

In 1998, The Ross-Led ACLU Opposed A Law That Allowed Judges To Hold Domestic Abusers In Jail For 48 Hours To “Cool Off” Because Domestic Abusers Were “Deprived Of Their Liberty Unnecessarily”

In 1998, The Ross-Led ACLU Submitted An Amicus Curiae Brief Challenging The Constitutionality Of A North Carolina Law That Allowed Judges To Hold Individuals Charged With Domestic Abuse In Jail For 48 Hours So They Could “Cool Off.” “This amicus curiae brief is submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation. It incorporates by reference the Statement of the Case submitted by Defendant-Appellant Ronnie Thompson in his separate brief. The appeal in State v. Thompson presents this Court with the opportunity to determine whether the Court of Appeals erred when it held that the bail and pretrial release statute for domestic violence offenses is constitutional and was applied constitutionally to Ronnie Thompson. The underlying issue in this case addresses under what circumstances detention is allowable for up to 48 hours prior to setting conditions of pretrial release.” (State v. Ronnie Thompson, Supreme Court Of North Carolina, Case #80PA98, Amicus Curiae Brief, 7/13/98, p. 2)

·         NOTE: It applied to individuals charged with domestic abuse, not merely arrested.

The ACLU Argued That A 48 Hour Holding Period Was “Unreasonable Because The Statute Does Not Allow For An Individual Dangerousness Determination Prior To The 48-Hour Detention. As A Result, Many Defendant’s [sic] Are Deprived Of Their Liberty Unnecessarily.” “The purposes of protecting victims and allowing a cooling-off period are also unreasonable because the statute does not allow for an individual dangerousness determination prior to the 48-hour detention. As a result, many defendant’s [sic] are deprived of their liberty unnecessarily. This is especially true when the accused is not picked up for the offense immediately, as in this case, and thus the defendant has already ‘cooled-off.’ Any cooling-off that might have been necessary at the time of the offense is likely abated where, as in this case, the defendant is arrested and jailed eight days after the alleged altercation.” (State v. Ronnie Thompson, Supreme Court Of North Carolina, Case #80PA98, Amicus Curiae Brief, 7/13/98, p. 24)

·          ACLU: “Unfortunately, 48-Hour Detentions Are Not The Rare Exception For Domestic Violence Offenders, Nor Are The Detentions Reasonable.” “The constitutional infirmities of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-534.1(b) arise from how it is applied. Unfortunately, 48-hour detentions are not the rare exception for domestic violence offenders, nor are the detentions reasonable.” (State v. Ronnie Thompson, Supreme Court Of North Carolina, Case #80PA98, Amicus Curiae Brief, 7/13/98, p. 17)

·          ROSS: The State Of North Carolina “Cannot Have That Practice Of Just Holding People, No, No, No, No.” “The decision is significant because police across the state routinely hold suspects for a 48-hour ‘cooling off’ period even though a judge might be available to conduct a bond hearing, said Deborah Ross, president of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Ross said the 48-hour period is not a presumption but a limit. ‘They cannot have that practice of just holding people, no, no, no, no,’ Ross said. ‘Any person who is in jail when there is a judge available is going to have to be brought to a judge.’” (John Sullivan, “Domestic Violence Detention Set Aside,” The News & Observer, 1/1/99)

Domestic Violence Advocates Opposed The ACLU’s Position Because It “Will Make It More Challenging For Victims Of Domestic Violence” And Make “Abused Women Even More Fearful”

Nancy Nicholson, Director Of The Shelter For Battered Women In Charlotte: The Ruling “Will Make It More Challenging For Victims Of Domestic Violence” And Make “Abused Women Even More Fearful.”

·         Nicholson Added That The 48 Hour Holding Period Gave Battered Women “Time To Move Somewhere Safe, Seek Restraining Orders Or Heal From Injuries.”“The decision to press charges is a huge step for battered women, she said. The 48-hour window, she said, gives them time to move somewhere safe, seek restraining orders or heal from injuries. ‘The jail time makes them feel so much better,’ Nicholson said. ‘They’re so afraid what might happen when he gets out.’”(Foon Rhee, “Suspects’ Rights Affirmed,” Charlotte Observer, 1/1/99)

Brenda Summer, Executive Director Of Women’s Advocacy Group N.C. Equity: “If They Get Right Back Out And Are Angry, In Some Cases That Makes The Situation Worse.” “‘If they get right back out and are angry, in some cases that makes the situation worse,’ said Brenda Summers, executive director of N.C. Equity, a Raleigh-based advocacy group for women.” (Foon Rhee, “Suspects’ Rights Affirmed,” Charlotte Observer, 1/1/99)

Ross Voted Against House Bill 483, Which Expanded The List Of Crimes Law Enforcement Officials Could Take DNA Upon Arrest

In 2011, Ross Voted Against House Bill 483. It Passed The General Assembly 83-34. (HB 483, Vote #447: Passed 83-34, 5/9/11, Ross Voted No)

Any Offense In Article 13, Malicious Injury Or Damage By Use Of Explosive Or Incendiary Device Or Material: “Any person who willfully and maliciously injures another by the use of any explosive or incendiary device or material is guilty of a Class D felony. Any person who willfully and maliciously damages any real or personal property of any kind or nature belonging to another by the use of any explosive or incendiary device or material is guilty of a Class G felony. Any person who willfully and maliciously damages, aids, counsels, or procures the damaging of any church, chapel, synagogue, mosque, masjid, or other building of worship by the use of any explosive or incendiary device or material is guilty of a Class E felony. Any person who willfully and maliciously damages, aids, counsels, or procures the damaging of the State Capitol, the Legislative Building, the Justice Building, or any building owned or occupied by the State or any of its agencies, institutions, or subdivisions or by any county, incorporated city or town, or other governmental entity by the use of any explosive or incendiary device or material is guilty of a Class E felony … Any person who willfully and maliciously damages any real or personal property of any kind or nature, being at the time occupied by another, by the use of any explosive or incendiary device or material is guilty of a felony punishable as a Class D felony.”