McCrory proposes tougher penalties for threatening, assaulting state officials

Posted May 19, 2014

— Reacting to the kidnapping of the father of a Wake County prosecutor, Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday proposed tougher penalties for those who provide cell phones to inmates and those who retaliate against or threaten state officials or their relatives.

"In light of the recent events involving family members of a prosecutor in Wake County, we feel it is necessary to broaden the degrees of punishment for these types of crimes,” McCrory said in a statement. “State officials should be able to fulfill their duties without fearing for their family's safety."

Frank Janssen, father of Wake County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen, was kidnapped from his Wake Forest home in April in a plot investigators said was masterminded by Kelvin Melton, who is serving life in prison. Colleen Janssen prosecuted the case that put Melton behind bars.

Frank Janssen was rescued by a FBI Hostage Rescue Team in Atlanta five days later. Six people – Jenna Paulin Martin, 21; Tiana Maynard, 20; Jevante Price, 20; Michael Montreal Gooden, 21; Clifton James Roberts, 29; and Quantavious Thompson – face federal kidnapping charges, which carry maximum prison sentences of life without parole.

Investigators are still searching for Jakym "Jak" Camel Tibbs in connection with the kidnapping. The FBI is offering $25,000 for information leading to his arrest.

Providing an inmate with a cell phone, currently a Class 1 misdemeanor (60-150 days), would be upgraded to a Class F felony (10-41 months) under McCrory’s proposal.

In addition:
- Retaliating against a government official, which would include family members under the proposal, would be a Class E felony (15-50 months) instead of a Class I felony (3-12 months)
- If an official is assaulted with a deadly weapon, it would be a Class D felony (38-160 months) instead of a Class F felony (10-41 months)
- If the official is seriously injured, it would be a Class C felony (44-182 months) instead of a Class F felony
- Threats to seriously harm or kill an official or their family would be a Class F felony instead of a Class I felony

A bill with the proposals will be filed in the General Assembly this week, McCrory’s office said.

“This is a focused, proportional response to the threats our court officials face in their service to the public as we just experienced with the Frank Janssen kidnapping,” Interim Wake County District Attorney Ned Mangum said in a statement. “This legislation recognizes the need for significant punishments for unlawfully bringing mobile phones into our prisons, and further targets those who choose to threaten or assault judges, public defenders, prosecutors and other officials in retaliation for their public service. I thank the governor for his willingness to address these important issues.”



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  • Imma Annoid May 20, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I thought assault was already illegal? What you are failing to understand is that for those who do these kind of things, the law won't have any effect. So I don't support superfluous laws.

    What usually happens is the law is misused by prosecutors in order to convict normal people of something worse than should have been charged. For example, I recall a woman/teacher that tossed an item on a principal's desk and they wanted to charge the woman/teacher with "Assault on a public official". See?

  • Classified May 20, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Law enforcement can have all the respect they wan't, it's their's to win or loose. A new law's not going to change that.

  • Lightfoot3 May 20, 2014

    "Body cameras for all LEOs and citizen review board instead of the cover up internal affairs report." - less_govt_is_better_govt

    Totally agree. The year is 2014 and camera technology/implementation is cheap (as long as you don't hire some corrupt company like Halliburton).

  • Lightfoot3 May 20, 2014

    "If you want the streets to be safe for everyone, we need people who can do their job, without fearing for their or their family's safe. It is as simple as that. " - computer trainer

    "Law enforcement officers, members of the legal system are uniquely exposed to threats of this sort, and the whole legal system depends on them being able to work without such threats so the crime is diffrerent than if the same threats/crimes were made to you and I." - Grand Union

    People of all walks are exposed to threats/crimes, to keep them from doing things. If you think criminals aren't going to do something because it's against the law, I've got some ocean front property to sell you two in Kansas. It's not going to change a thing with regards to their safety, or the ability to do their jobs. Time would be better spent on voter id fraud. :)

  • 678devilish May 20, 2014

    How about tougher penalties for our government who is not doing their job for the people of North Carolina? McCrory can start with himself.

  • less_govt_is_better_govt May 20, 2014

    How about more accountability for government officials instead of treating them as entitled citizens?

    Body cameras for all LEOs and citizen review board instead of the cover up internal affairs report.

    From 2002 until 2010 Donnie Harrison allowed deputies to knowingly falsify incident reports for crimes. These falsified reports were then used by the DA to make hundreds if not thousands of plea deals and false convictions at trials.

    Good thing Donnie swept this under the rug via internal affairs, else the Feds would have gotten involved.

    Where is the government official accountability?

  • Rebelyell55 May 20, 2014

    Certainly a wasted effort. Won't stop the crimminal, most don't even follow the laws. How about getting back to law breaker who continue to do so like Duke and some of the elected officals.

  • CherryDarling May 20, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Please... grow up and understand how much of a peon most of them think you are compared to them. Sad, but true.

  • Mike Rigsbee May 20, 2014
    user avatar

    I think the current penalties are plenty tough.

  • Danny22 May 20, 2014

    This is very needed bc there is disrespect for law enforcement locally and otherwise. We need stricter enforcement of all laws.