Freda Black | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Freda Black 

Candidate Questionnaire for Durham District Attorney

Name as it appears on the ballot: Freda Black
Date of Birth: November 11, 1960
Campaign Web Site:
Occupation & Employer: Attorney; Clayton, Myrick, McClanahan & Coulter
Years lived in Durham: Seven (7)

1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing the District Attorney’s Office? What are your top three priorities in addressing these issues?

The most important issues seem to be related to gang violence and violent crime.

  • Organizing the law enforcement agencies to combat gang violence.
  • To redirect the prosecutorial resources in Durham to attack violent criminals who are repeat offenders.
  • Identify top 10 percent of violent offenders and prosecute them vigorously.

2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be an effective district attorney? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.

I believe I can be effective because I have 14 years of handling serious felony cases and trying serious homicide cases in Superior Court. Some of these cases would include:

  • Gregory Bagley
  • Brett Potter
  • Donald Scanlon
  • Isaac Strond
  • Syreeta Edwards
  • Norma Brown
  • Eric Crutchfield
  • Michael Peterson
  • Al Atwater
  • Darryl Crawford
  • Todd Boggess
  • Everett Russell

3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I consider myself to be a moderate. Because I have been a criminal defense attorney for 8 years and a prosecutor for 14 years, I am qualified to evaluate any case on its merits in a reasonable manner.

4. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

I realize that a growing number of people are demanding that a moratorium be declared on the death penalty. However, as long as the death penalty is still the law in this state, I will uphold that law in the most extreme cases that qualify.

5. The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

I believe my past experience is well-balanced and makes me a person who can make “just” and fair decisions regarding policy and the prosecution of cases.

6. North Carolina prosecutes 16-year-olds as adults. (Thirteen-year-old juveniles who are charged with felonies can also be prosecuted as adults, if transferred from juvenile court.) Do you support the raising of the juvenile jurisdiction to 18? Explain.

I do support raising the age to 18. Most 16 year olds do not fully comprehend the consequences of their actions.

7. What is your position on seeking the death penalty? Why?

I believe the death penalty should be sought in only the most extreme cases. It should not be sought in a case where there is any question regarding the defendant’s guilt.

8. Are you in favor of raising suggested bond guidelines for serious felonies? Are you in favor of unsecured bonds for Class 2 and 3 misdemeanors? Explain.

The bond guidelines have recently been raised. I am not in complete agreement with the new guidelines. I am in favor of unsecured bonds for Class 2 and Class 3 misdemeanors because a secured bond is not necessary.

9. When is it inappropriate to plea bargain cases?

Plea bargains are necessary in most cases due to the high volume of cases in this county. There may be some very serious cases that should not be plea bargained due to the victim’s objection.

10. How do you plan to better manage the movement of cases through the system? What can you do to process the huge backlog of cases?

I would evaluate each case pending in Superior Court to evaluate its merits. New cases will be evaluated by an experienced prosecutor to determine whether it is appropriate to be handed over to Superior Court or whether it could be handled more efficiently and effectively in District Court.

11. Why are there so few jury criminal court trials in Superior Court? Is it your position that you won’t seek a jury trial unless you are certain you can be successful?

Most cases in Superior Court are resolved by plea. Jury trials will be sought in cases that cannot be resolved by the parties. There is never a case where you can be certain you will be successful.

12. What is your experience in juvenile court? What can be done to prevent delinquency and gang involvement?

I personally have no prosecutorial juvenile court experience. However, I did practice in juvenile court as a defense attorney. I believe that delinquency and gang issues should be vigorously pursued at the juvenile court level.

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