Full legal name Daniel J. Nagle
Name as it appears on the ballot: Dan Nagle
Date of birth: 6/3/1955
Campaign web site: www.DanNagleforJudge.com
Occupation and employer: Prosecutor – Wake Co. District Attorney’s Office
Years lived in Wake County: 45
1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing the District 10 District Court? What are your top three priorities in addressing these issues?
The most important issues facing the District 10 District Court include inadequate funding, overcrowded dockets, and limited options for alternatives to detention and incarceration. My top priorities for addressing these issues are
a. Advocate for increased funding for the courts. Historically our courts have lagged in funding increases needed to ensure the number of judges allocated for each district is sufficient to keep pace with the increase in filings. Inadequate funding has a crippling effect on the ability of the courts to dispense justice and makes an independent branch of our government a dependent branch.Current funding for our courts, including district, superior, and appellate courts and support staff is less than 3% of the total state budget.
b. Work with our chief district court judge, the other district court judges, our elected district attorney, our elected clerk of superior court, our defense attorneys and our law enforcement leaders to seek process improvements in order to minimize case filings, unnecessary court appearances, and continuances and to resolve cases set on the docket in a timely manner.
c. Advocate for and seek additional community based resources to provide for alternatives to detention and incarceration for minor offenses.Jail space is limited and expensive. Defendants charged with minor crimes who do not pose a danger to the community should not be held in jail pending trial when they can be returned to the community to work and support themselves and their families if they do not otherwise pose a risk to the community.Many offenders who are released to probation upon conviction for minor offenses would benefit from community based resources aimed at dealing with the problems underlying and driving the criminal behavior for which they were charged. Treatment for the underlying issues is an important element of reducing recidivism.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be an effective district court judge? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
The district court is the peoples’ court. For the average citizen who finds themselves in court, that court is the most often the district court. For 35 years I have been dealing with problems and disputes occurring between individuals and problems that arise in our community which are ultimately the subject matter of the district court.As a law enforcement officer, I wrote tickets for traffic offenses; I made arrests for criminal offenses; I made arrests for drug violations; I supervised our juvenile investigations unit; I worked with the department of social services and district attorneys to prosecute physical and sexual abuse cases in a way that minimized trauma on child victims and produced effective prosecutions. I saw the effect of separation, divorce, and custody disputes on families, especially the children.As assistant district attorney, I have extensive trial experience with misdemeanor and felony prosecutions. I am in the court room nearly every day, and I have earned the reputation as fair, impartial, and consistent. As I consider the disposition for each case that is my responsibility, I consider what is in the best interest of the community, what is in the best interest of the victim, and what is in the best interest of the defendant.I understand how the law can be used as an effective tool for solving individual and community problems. I also understand the law is a powerful institution, and I understand the significant impact the law may have when applied against an individual.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
The office of district court judge is a non-partisan office. It is my judicial philosophy that the job of the judge is to apply the law as it is written by the legislature, consistent with the United States and North Carolina Constitutions and appellate court decisions. If I disagree with a law or its effect, my remedy is to consult with those who formulated the law, our legislature, and seek to change that law through the political process. Unless and until the law is changed or declared unconstitutional, I will follow the rule of law. That is the duty of a judge.Throughout my career as law enforcement officer and prosecutor, this philosophy has been evident. I have consistently followed the rule of law and based my decisions on a fair and equal application of the law without fear or favor.
4. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
There will be occasions where a case or controversy will present in which the majority would prefer the law be applied or not applied in a manner inconsistent with the letter of the law or the intent of the legislature. As judge in that circumstance, I will follow the rule of law and apply the law as written and as intended by the legislature. While this may not be popular with the voters at the time, I will do as I promised in my oath to faithfully execute the duties of my office and uphold the United States and North Carolina constitutions irrespective of the effect on my political popularity.
5. The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
A just community is one in which the citizens can expect the law will be equally and fairly applied and where those who appear before our courts can expect to be treated with dignity and respect. I will be a judge who satisfies that expectation. Those who appear before me can expect a fair trial, a just decision, and where a sentence is to be imposed, a fair consideration of their record. This would include any criminal history as well as the defendant’s contributions to the community and nation.
6. How long do you plan to serve if elected, and how long will you be able to serve?
I plan to serve and will be able to serve until I reach the mandatory retirement age of 72. Following that, I may continue to serve the citizens as an emergency judge as allowed.
7. North Carolina prosecutes 16-year-olds as adults. (Thirteen-year-old juveniles who are charged with felonies can also be prosecuted as adults, if transferred from juvenile court.) A bill to raise the juvenile jurisdiction age to 18 is expected to be considered in the 2012 legislative session. Do you support the age increase? Please explain why or why not.
North Carolina is one of only two states that prosecute 16 and 17 year olds as adults. In theory, I support raising that age to 18; however, my support is qualified on two factors. First, should the legislature must also fund services typically provided to juvenile respondents. Otherwise, the effect will be to dilute the services available to all. Second, there must be increased sanctions for those who commit delinquent felony offenses as well as automatic transfer to Superior Court for juveniles between the age of 15 and 17 charged with certain felonies or who have reached certain record levels.
8. What is your experience in juvenile court? What can be done to prevent delinquency and gang involvement?
I have extensive experience in juvenile court.I supervised our juvenile investigations unit with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office for six years as Sergeant and Lieutenant prior to retiring as Major of the administrative division. I also have approximately two years experience prosecuting in the juvenile court while working as assistant district attorney in Wake County. I have a deep understanding of the issues in our juvenile justice system. Negative peer association, gang involvement, and a lack of vision for the future are major factors contributing to juvenile delinquency and gang involvement.Prevention lies in separating juveniles from gangs and other negative associations. If a child goes outside and plays in a mud puddle he will get dirty. In response, we can bring that child into the house, wash their clothes, put them in the shower, and re-dress them in the freshly washed clothes, and they will be nice and clean. However, unless we either keep them away from the mud puddle or eliminate it, they will soon be dirty again. Similarly, unless and until we eliminate the negative influence, the gang, or the other “attractive nuisance,” the problem will recur. This means we must eliminate gang influence or replace the attraction of the gang with an attractive alternative.Moreover, I have been amazed at the number of juveniles who have no vision of what they would like to do in life. If you do not know where you are going, you will never get there. I have been discussing with community and school leaders a change in the curriculum which will begin in primary school and continue through high school that will challenge students to explore what they would like to do in life. It is only when a child can say, “I have a dream.” that they will begin to consider and work to accomplish that dream.
9. What improvements could be made in the Wake County judicial system to expedite the trying of cases and ease caseloads?
There are a number of improvements that can be made within the Wake County judicial system to ease caseloads and expedite the trial of cases.First, there a number of charges made which are compliance issues that could be resolved using warning tickets. Currently, when a traffic citation is issued for failing to sign a registration card, failing to renew a driver’s license or failing to renew a vehicle registration, the person charged may appear in our disposition court, present evidence of compliance, and have their charge dismissed. Disposition court is staffed by a district court judge, two district attorneys, and up to four clerks. This system is an inefficient use of court resources and should be replaced by one in which a warning citation is issued and entered into a central computer system. Evidence of compliance may be presented to any law enforcement officer in the community, and the officer will enter the compliance information clearing the violation. If the recipient of the warning citation fails to demonstrate compliance within the required time, a summons to court for the violation would be produced by the system and served upon the recipient by law enforcement.Second, our legislature should find an alternative method for dealing with a defendant’s failure to appear in court on a minor traffic charge. Currently, a person who fails to appear in court for a minor traffic charge will have their driver’s license revoked after a specified period of time. Prior to the revocation, the Department of Motor Vehicles issues notice to the defendant their driver’s license will be revoked if the failure to appear is not resolved by a date certain. Ultimately many of the defendants are charged with driving while license revoked prior to resolving the failure to appear, and a vicious cycle begins which may ultimately result in incarceration or imprisonment. Our dockets are clogged with these cases, and many of the defendants qualify for a court-appointed a lawyer, at taxpayer expense, adding a huge burden to the State’s cost for provision of indigent defense services.