Local News

MADD to monitor Johnston County courts

Posted April 21, 2009

— A State Bureau of Investigation probe into an alleged ticket-fixing scheme in Johnston County has triggered the attention of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Ticket-fixing scheme rallies MADD volunteers Ticket-fixing scheme rallies MADD volunteers

Six people, including former Johnston County prosecutor Cyndi Jaeger and former deputy court clerk Portia Snead, were indicted last month on charges that they altered court records and knowingly used illegal dismissal forms to get traffic cases against 37 people dropped.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is so concerned about the ticket-fixing allegations that the group plans to start a court-monitoring program in Johnston County this week, said Craig Lloyd, MADD's executive director in North Carolina.

"What (the program) does is goes through and sees patterns. We have a database that looks for local, state and national trends," Lloyd said, noting MADD will also monitor cases in Harnett County.

A WRAL investigation found that 46 percent of the DWI charges filed in Johnston County in 2006 were dismissed, compared with 21 percent statewide.

"We want there to be justice in the courtrooms,” said Whitney Hendrix, Johnston County Assistant District Attorney.

Hendrix said the DWI conviction rate in Johnston County is around 90 percent.

"We hope that (the general public) trust us. We hope that they know we are doing the right thing because we are. We try to do that everyday,” Hendrix said.

Hendrix would not say if court monitoring would have caught the past dismissals, but said data on courtroom trends would be helpful.


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  • flipper59 Apr 27, 2009

    What amazes me is the amount of victim persistence it takes to make these DA's and ADA's do their jobs. You would think they would learn from others mistakes. There actions are no different than a DUI offender, "i won't get caught"

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 22, 2009

    The people have spoken, "We need more [fill-in-the-blank]in our courts."

    Yes. But, we've people screaming about taxes and having protest tea bagging parties.

    So...pick ONE: low (or no) taxes OR a good & fair justice system. I'll pick justice. You?

  • nanasix Apr 22, 2009

    Why can't the SBI, N.C. Judicial System, the N.C.Bar,etc., etc., investigate all courts where there are complaints? The N.C. Attorney General's office is aware of some of the things happening in our courts, yet no one will take any actions. We here in Carteret County have a Felony Bigamy charge continued 18 timessince 2-01-07, with no indictment, and they have everything in hand to get an indictment and prosecute. Our elected DA and Judges take no action to protect the victims in major felony crimes. We need more monitoring of our courts than just MADD, although I support their efforts. People need to be aware that court calendars are available online, and research and reporting can be done based on the figures shown as continuances, even naming the attorneys and judges. Perhaps if more of us wrote letters to the Editors of our papers, made calls to everyone at state level, maybe we could get something done.

  • nanasix Apr 22, 2009

    Johnston County isn't the only place we have bad things happening. I did a Letter to the Editor published in our paper naming the DA, various attorneys, and the numbers of continuances for DWI, Driving while license revoked, etc. Our courts, meaning Judges, DA's, Attorneys, are not doing their jobs in enforcing the laws to protect us. It's all about money to a certain few, and it must stop. We need a full investigation into our courts to bring this to a stop. The attorneys must be prosecuted, as well as the Judges, DA's, and the assistants who are cohorts in crime. It wouldn't take much to figure out who is behind the illegal acts in our courts, and who's getting paid to let specific attorneys do what they want before certain judges. Judges should run our courts, and enforce the laws, and they don't. As long as this is allowed to continue, more of our loved ones will be injured and/or killed as a result of their lack of actions. It's all about money, and life means nothing to them.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 22, 2009

    I'm with htomc42. MADD is now full of mis-information. They should have no more access to government info than us citizens.

    Here's list of MADD's own (basically UN-American) strategies: http://getmadd.com/MADDstrategy.htm

  • johnsod27330 Apr 22, 2009

    Johnston County is not the only county where traffic tickets are handled in strange ways. In the late 90's I was hit by a drunk driver. After many postponements the driver finally plead guilty to reckless driving. His 4th reckless driving conviction. While sitting through all those court sessions it was exceedingly clear that you could plead guilty to all sorts of stuff and your serious charge would be dismissed.

  • htomc42 Apr 22, 2009

    MADD has transformed over the years from a good thing, to a bunch of hysterical neo-prohibitionists. So much so, that even their founder, Candice Lightner, quit and has criticized the organization. Read up on it yourself. Preventing drunk driving is certainly a good thing, but this group is up to far more extreme measures- and it's good to be suspicious of anything they do at this point.

  • KT6596 Apr 22, 2009

    Good for them. I hope they keep a watchful eye on the system for a long time. Johnston County is so crooked, it's a shame that this is the only division that got caught. Hopefully the good ole boy system will start becoming a thing of the past.