Woman petitions Johnston County to remove magistrate
Posted February 1, 2012 3:48 p.m. EST
Updated February 2, 2012 5:52 a.m. EST
Smithfield, N.C. — 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."
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.