Name as it appears on the ballot: Lamar F. Proctor, Jr.
Date of Birth: May 28, 1971
Campaign Web Site: www.lamarproctor.org
Occupation & Employer: Assistant District Attorney 15B Prosecutors Office
Years lived in Orange/Chatham County: 4 years
1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing the district 15B District Court? What are your top three priorities in addressing these issues?
The most important issues for District 15B are (1) an ever-increasing caseload and lack of efficiency in processing cases; (2) insufficient rehabilitative resources to provide services to those who come in contact with the court system; and (3) maintaining the peaceful, safe community that is Orange and Chatham Counties. I will work to do a comprehensive restructuring of how cases are filed and administered to reduce the age of cases and the clogging of the court system. This restructuring would include eliminating the current practice of creating multiple court files for the same case thus increasing efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of the court system. I will also endeavor to anchor rehabilitative programs such as drug treatment, domestic abuse intervention and mental health treatment in our District Court and focus the courts attention on preventing violent offenses and rehabilitating youthful offenders to help maintain a healthy, non-violent community.
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.
I have spent my entire legal career in public service as an Assistant District Attorney. I have thousands of hours of in-court experience working in regular district courts, drug courts, domestic violence courts, juvenile courts and felony courts. I have conducted scores of jury trials, hearings and bench trials. I handle homicides, sexual assaults and other serious felonies as part of my regular duties as a prosecutor. I thoroughly know the law and have been dedicated to doing justice for defendants and victims alike. I have served as a volunteer instructor to the Orange County Rape Crisis Center and the Family Violence Prevention Center. As an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, NY, I worked in some of our countrys most cutting-edge courts such as the Red Hook Community Justice Center which exposed me to a variety of techniques and approaches to effectively use the courts as a tool for social change and community betterment. My years of experience as a New York City prosecutor in handling extremely high volumes of cases will enable me to make our District Court run more efficiently and to do a better job even when resources are few and far between.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I define myself as an independent thinker who seeks to use the court system as a tool for the betterment of our community and understands that one size does not fit all in the court system. I helped establish the Misdemeanor Brooklyn Treatment Court, worked in several problem solving courts in New York City such as the Red Hook Community Justice Center and have routinely sought out treatment and rehabilitative services for Defendants in District 15B.
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.
As a candidate for judicial office, it would be inappropriate for me to give a forecast as to how I would rule in any particular case. I am simply committed to being a fair and impartial arbiter in court disputes. However, I am strongly opposed to any form of lip-synching by any performance artist, and I know that position may cost me votes with some voters.
5. The Independents mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
As many legal professionals in our community know, I have always served as a fair prosecutor willing to dismiss cases if the evidence wasnt there and willing to work to rehabilitate offenders and achieve justice for victims. If elected as Judge, I would continue that commitment to justice and to being a wise and committed decision-maker for our community.
6. How long do you plan to serve if elected, and how long would you be able to serve?
I will serve as long as the people of Orange and Chatham choose to have me as their judge. I am 36 years old and would be eligible to serve up to the mandatory retirement age of seventy-two.
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.) Do you support the raising of the juvenile jurisdiction to 18? Explain. I do support the raising of the age of criminal responsibility to 18. At the same time, I support allowing the District Attorneys Office to have the option of prosecuting those under 18 as adults for certain designated violent felony offenses such as Murder, Rape, Sexual Assaults, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and Burglary. It does nothing but hurt our community to saddle minors with life-long felony and criminal records for otherwise non-violent or petty offenses.
8. Are you in favor of raising suggested bond guidelines for serious felonies? Are you in favor of unsecured bonds for Class 2 and 3 misdemeanors? Please explain. Our District has undergone a recent bond guideline revision that I think is effective and fair. I would not recommend changing it. I favor unsecured bonds for Class 2 and 3 misdemeanors when the Defendant is not subject to an active sentence and/or has a demonstrated record of appearing in court when required to do so.
9. What is your experience in juvenile court? What can be done to prevent delinquency and gang involvement?
I have worked as an Assistant District Attorney in New York City in the Brooklyn Juvenile Court handling that citys volume and severity of juvenile crime. I have also routinely communicated with colleagues concerning District 15Bs juvenile court. Our District is not unique in having a growing juvenile delinquency and gang problem. These are challenging cases that require imaginative, comprehensive and global solutions. We need to establish more mentoring services for youthful offenders and youth generally. We also need to work to ensure that firearms, especially handguns, stay out of the hands of our young people.
10. District court judges do not continue cases past 120 days after the first appearance. Is that too long, or too short? Why?
That is an appropriate time for both sides to prepare for most misdemeanor District Court cases and to ensure the Defendants right to a speedy trial. I would support shortening that time for non-violent class 2 and class 3 misdemeanors to increase our District Courts efficiency and clear dockets for more serious and violent offenses.
11. Do you favor or oppose the creation of a Family Court system in district 15B District Court? Please explain.
I support the creation of a designated Family Court system in our District as well as providing it with the resources to change the entire landscape of a troubled familys life. Having issues of delinquency, child custody and abuse or neglect handled in one forum allows our judges to take a comprehensive view of a particular familys problems and prescribe the appropriate treatment and resolution to their case in one court in front of one judge.