Local News

Freeze ordered on court expenditures

Posted April 16, 2009 9:31 p.m. EDT
Updated April 17, 2009 12:09 a.m. EDT

— The state Administrative Office of the Courts recently sent letters to district attorneys around the state calling for a suspension on all purchases.

The memo cites a directive from Gov. Perdue and says the cutbacks are to “ensure that money is available to meet payroll requirements.”

The use of emergency judges is suspended and job openings will also be frozen through the end of June.

Travel reimbursement is suspended with an exception jfor judges, ADAs, required court officials, victims and witnesses going to court.

In addition, salary increases or promotions will not be processed.

In the long run, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby worries the cutbacks will cause delays in cases, like the one involving four students accused of murdering 18-year-old Matthew Silliman.

Silliman was found dead on Dec. 2 in a mobile home at 4221 Olive Branch Lane in New Hill.

Four of Silliman's acquaintances – Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 17, of 601 Walcott Way, Cary; Ryan Patrick Hare, 18; of 100 Walnut Hill Court, Apex; Aadil Shahid Khan, 17, of 901 Bristol Blue St., Apex; and Drew Logan Shaw, 16, of 107 Woolard Way, Apex – were indicted on one count of murder each in the case.

The cutbacks could cause the Silliman case to be delayed six more months, Willoughby said.

The cutbacks could affect a prosecutor's ability to build a case. The restrictions on travel may stop prosecutors from speaking to witnesses out of town.

Willoughby is concerned the cutbacks will cause more financial woes.

“It will delay the matter and result in people staying in jail longer at a greater expense to the county,” Willoughby said.