Full Legal Name: Doretta La Shawn Walker
Name as it appears on Ballot: Doretta Walker
Seat/District: McKown seat/14th district
Partisan Affiliation: Democrat
Date of Birth: 11/13/1967
Home Address: 7 Cedar Bluff Ct
Durham, NC 27704
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 753
Durham, NC 27702
Campaign Web Site: firstname.lastname@example.org
Occupation & Employer: Assistant District Attorney
Durham District Attorney's Office
Bachelor's Degree Year & institution: BS in Criminal Justice and Psychology, 1990, UNC-Chapel Hill
JD Year & School: JD, 1993, UNC-Chapel Hill
Years lived in North Carolina: Lived in North Carolina all my life (42)
Home Phone: 919-672-4249
Work Phone: 919-564-7100
1. The most important issues facing the District Court are overcrowding and security, and recidivism.
2. I have over twelve years of trial experience and I have tried over a hundred cases before juries. Additionally, I spent more than seven years working in District Court and handling huge dockets with efficiency and respect for others. I am more than ready to take on the challenge of handling daily caseloads of two to three hundred people. I am a native of Durham County and have a deep appreciation for the issues and concerns that affect our judicial system. I have also spent considerable time mentoring many of the youth in our community for over ten years. I have worked with the elderly to ensure that they are aware of the various issues affecting them such as crime prevention, health care aide exploitation, and avoiding fraudulent schemes. My work also allows me to work closely with law enforcement and other court personnel to facilitate greater efficiency in our judicial system. I believe I have the requisite temperament and demeanor to handle cases that affect the lives of others in a fair and impartial manner.
3. Judicial races are nonpartisan. Thus, I would say that how I define myself politically would not impact my judicial approach. The fact that I define myself politically as a democrat would not influence my decisions one way or the other. My judicial approach would be defined by the laws and the facts of the case balanced carefully with what is fair and a particular set of circumstances. I pride myself on being fair and honest, and my approach would be the same. I live my life to be impartial and fair and to follow the laws of the land. I intend to temper the law with compassion and recognition of the individuals' failings, accomplishments and backgrounds.
4. I really do not have any negative opinions to offer regarding decisions made by Judge McKown who currently holds this seat and has chosen not to seek re-election.
5. One of the most important recent decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court was the landmark ruling on campaign finance. In this case, the Court ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. The argument was that government should not regulate free speech (political speech) under the First Amendment. As a result of this ruling, it is more likely that corporate monies will exercise undue influence on our political system and corrupt our sense of democracy. I can already envision big banks, health insurance companies and other powerful special interest groups being able to buy advertisements to a degree that ordinary citizens cannot. For this reason, I do not agree with the majority ruling in this case, and fear that this result may be used by big corporations to influence the outcome of the elections in a way that effectively disenfranchises the majority of voters.
6. I do feel that North Carolina's current system of judicial elections serves the state well. Election by the people is always the best system for judges because it gives each citizen a voice in deciding who serves on the judiciary and allows for accountability to the electorate. There are other forms of selecting judges that function differently from our current system such as appointments and merit based selections, or nominating committees. These options remove candidates from the influence of campaign contributions and day to day politics. However, in a way it is another form of influence peddling because it becomes political when you consider how appointments are made. Ideally, judges should be insulated from politics and subject only to the law and facts. Unfortunately, in all of the scenarios listed above politics are still involved. Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently spoke in North Carolina about this very issue and made a pitch for appointing judges as a way to alleviate this issue. Notwithstanding, the truth of the matter is that all methods of selecting judges tend to be imbued with a political element.
8. I am a community oriented person who works to give back every day. I teach at Durham Technical Community College in its Criminal Justice Program. I am a member of SALT (Seniors And Law enforcement Together), where I work with senior citizens in making sure that they are educated on issues pertaining to crime and victimization. I have been a mentor with Partners for Youth for over a decade where I provide guidance to young people about activities, education and social skills. In addition, I serve on several nonprofit boards whose objectives are to build a stranger Durham community.
9. A principled stand that I would be willing to take if elected that may cost me popularity points with voters is to actually remove kids from homes that are doing more harm than help to the young person. It is always great to try to keep the child with a parent or family member but sometimes the parent is the problem and can lead to the child being worse off than ever and being led into a life of crime or deprivation. In those circumstances, being with someone that will nurture the child and make sure that their emotional, financial and physical needs are being met are more important than the biological toxicity of an uncaring and absent parent.
10. The main improvement that needs to be made in the juvenile justice system has to do with providing sufficient services for the youth who come into contact with the courts. For instance, the mental health system has failed to keep pace with the need for out of home placements. There are few placements available between home and training schools. This lack of resources results in children being sent off to training schools and institutionalized rather than being treated in the community. Other needed improvements in the juvenile justice system would be the education of officers and other officials as to how to diffuse various situations in certain communities in order to decrease the disproportionate number of minorities in the criminal justice system. As to weaknesses or constraints in the court's handling of juvenile offenders, the biggest issue has to be the lack of resources for the treatment and rehabilitation of youth