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Candidates Voice Opinions on Crime & Punishment

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RALEIGH — The May primary is just over five weeks away and even though nominations for a U.S. Senate seat are at stake, candidates aren't making much noise. But voters are.

When your Your Voice, Your Vote surveyed 1,000 North Carolina residents, crime was at the top of your list of concerns.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."About two years ago my house was broken into. And I felt very violated when that happened because I walked in on them.Eighty four percent of you say said reducing crime should the top priority of the next U.S. Senator from North Carolina. Forty two percent are very worried about crime in their community.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."Probably the biggest issue is crime. Drugs, they go hand in hand. We've got to do something about it."Tuesday's killing of four Arkansas students and a teacher re-opened debates on juvenile crime and punishment. Eighty one percent of those polled said reducing juvenile crime should be a top priority. The voters and senate candidates are talking about sentencing juveniles as if they were adults.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.D.G. Martin, (D) Senate Candidate:"I would certainly favor confinement and punishment. I think where ever possible the adolescent offenders should be kept separate, should be kept in separate confinement situations from adult criminals."

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.John Edwards, (D) Senate Candidate:"What I'm saying is, that jail, imprisonment, is a viable option for serious juvenile offenders. I'm talking about the first time, so that they get a taste of what's going to happen if they continue in this kind of activity."The Arkansas massacre also rekindles the fires of gun control discussion and dissension.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.Mike Robinson, (D) Senate Candidate:"I am a gun owner, I am a hunter. I am opposed to much more restriction on especially hunting type firearms. I am very much in favor of more restrictions on handguns and handgun ammunition."

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.Senator Lauch Faircloth, (R) North Carolina:"But for the life of me, I can't understand why any one needs an AK-47 rifle to go bird hunting with."

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.Ella Scarborough, (D) Senate Candidate:"The question is why do we have so many handguns a year. I'm baffled. How do you get into a small town in North Carolina 200 to 300 handguns? Somebody is making those guns. Maybe there should be some type of control on how many guns are made per year."And on the question of punishing capitol crimes, here's how the candidates stand on the death penalty.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.Lauch Faircloth:"I am for it. I think the death penalty is effective."

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.John Edwards:"I do support the death penalty."

Listen toauorreal audiofiles.Ella Scarborough:"Put them in solitary for the rest of their lives and let them live their lives out there. But, you know, putting them to death, you can't give life, why are you taking it?"

Listen toauorreal audiofiles. D.G. Martin:"I think the death penalty should be reserved for the most extraordinary, heinous crimes."

For more Your Voice, Your Vote poll results and candidate responses on crime, read this Sunday'sNews and Observer.

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David Crabtree, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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