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Woman petitions Johnston County to remove magistrate

Posted February 1, 2012
Updated February 2, 2012

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— A Johnston County woman filed a petition Wednesday that could lead to the removal of a magistrate who is facing charges after allegedly threatening to kill a crime suspect.

Sam Blake Jr. was charged last week with communicating threats while on duty following an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation. The SBI alleges that Blake told the suspect, "If I catch you over there, I'll shoot and kill you."

Candy Pinkus formally submitted a request Wednesday that Blake be removed from office. She is not the first Johnston County resident to allege that Blake has behaved inappropriately on the job.

In fact, the county has more than 180 pages of documented complaints against Blake, which were released last week after he was charged.

One of those complaints was filed by Pinkus. She said she went to the magistrate's office last year to request a restraining order against a woman she had an altercation. When she called to see if anything else could be done in her case, she said Blake acted unprofessional.

"He just became belligerent. He was rude," Pinkus said. "He said, 'My name is Sam Blake and I know who you are.'"

She complained to the county, but nothing was ever done about it, Pinkus said. In a response, Blake wrote that Pinkus was the one who acted rudely.

"Paying taxes does not give (her) or anyone else the right to talk to me or any other magistrate like we owe (her) something," he wrote.

In a later response, he wrote that he is a "scapegoat for bigger issues." Magistrate Sam Blake Jr. Johnston County magistrate facing charges could be removed

One of the other complaints against Blake was filed by a police officer who alleged he called other magistrates racist. Blake responded that statements about racism have been made, not only by him, but "also by all races and cultures of law enforcement officers."

Pinkus said she didn't think someone like Blake should be allowed to keep his job.

"I do not understand how he can remain in his position," she said. "When we go to him for help, we are treated this way?"

A District Court judge will review Pinkus' petition and decide whether Blake should be suspended. The case will then go to Superior Court to decide whether Blake should lose his job.

Blake could not be reached for comment.

59 Comments

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  • westernwake1 Feb 2, 2012

    Does everyone remember the story about the magistrate in Durham with the past criminal history and jail time. It does not seem that North Carolina is particularly selective when screening the background of magistrates. This magistrate in Durham had numerous complaints about his behavior before he was suspended from his job.

    Suspended Durham magistrate served jail time in Michigan
    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/9633437/

    Something is very wrong with the magistrate hiring and selection process in North Carolina.

  • 42ITUS Feb 2, 2012

    As a former magistrate I can tell you that there are many attorneys in the state that are magistrates, as well as many former law enforcement officials. One is appointed for a two-year term followed by a four-year term if reappointed. I tried to treat everyone that came through my door with professional courtesy, however, I saw many examples from my peers of rudeness and condescension. There really is no place in the judicial system for that kind of behavior and it embarasses me to see it occur. The problem is once you are in the position, only the Superior Court Judge in the district can act to take you out.

  • miketroll3572 Feb 2, 2012

    180 pages of documented complaints, and this guy still has a job?

  • mrsox05 Feb 2, 2012

    Well, pertain to his comment "If I catch you over there, I'll shoot and kill you." Based on what an Orange County magistrate told me, that is not a threat simply because he used the word "if". I called to Orange County magistrate probably 8 years ago now bc a young adult threatened my then 10yr old daughter by saying "If you don't stop talking to me I'm going to kick your ___." So, when I went to press charges the magistrate was not in, but was called for me and that is what he told me over the phone. "It wasn't a threat because he used the word IF." I in turn told the magistrate that "If that young man put his hands on my daughter I was going to kill him!" And simply hung up the phone.. that was the end of that and I meant what I said to him. Fortunately it didn't come to that....

  • SomeRandomGuy Feb 2, 2012

    As far as the shooting someone comment, I think that was out of line.

    But for this Pinkus lady, what a whiner! The way I understand it, she already HAD the restraining order. She calls up the magistrate just to see what ELSE can be done by the magistrate? I think I would have said the exact same thing to her. There wasn't anything else he could do, and she was wasting his time.

  • SpeakingTruth101 Feb 2, 2012

    ncpilot2 2 OTHERS? well Blake is the only one who is being investigated. Im sure the other 2 magistrates are sitting home laughing as Blake is taking the fall for them all. I think the other complaints should be irrelevant simply because they(JoCo) swept it under the rug.

  • Tarheel born Feb 2, 2012

    Fire him and try him.........if it looks like a duck and acts like a duck = a duck....what an embarassment to the judicial system....

  • ncpilot2 Feb 2, 2012

    SpeakingTruth101, A previous story on WRAL pointed out there were tons of complaints against this magistrate, so knowing the rest of the story becomes a mute point. I have personally witnessed the arrogance of two other magistrates in Johnston County when my son was assaulted. There is a systematic problem within the Johnston County Court House. Don't forget, the SBI had to step in before when it was determined that DUI cases were being fixed.

  • nyyankeesfan Feb 2, 2012

    The mission of the Magistrate is to protect and preserve the rights and liberties of all of the people, as guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States and North Carolina, by providing a fair, independent and accessible forum the just, timely and economical resolution of their legal affairs.

    If this magistrate in JC does not have the proper people skills to fulfill his commitment to the citizens then this magistrate needs to be removed from office.

  • NCSU08 Feb 2, 2012

    Magistrates are appointed officals appointed by the resident Superior Court Judge. In the old days there was no qualifications to be a Magistrate. Now you have to have a 4 year degree or a certain number of years in law enforcement.You also have to go to the UNC School of Government for training. The qualifications changed a couple of years ago and anyone already in office was grandfathered in.

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