Thursday, May 29, 2014

District Court Judge Doretta L. Walker Vs. Henry Pruette for District 14 Court Judge in North Carolina

Full Legal Name: Henry Wolfe Pruette
Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Henry Pruette
Office Sought/District: 14th Judicial District (Walker Seat)
Party: Democrat
Mailing address: P.O. Box 61018, Durham, NC 27715
Date of Birth: 12/05/1955
Campaign Web Site:
Occupation & Employer: Attorney, Self-employed
Years lived in Durham: 28 years
Work Phone: 919-294-8412

1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing the District Court? What are your top priorities or issues of concern for the coming term?
The overwhelming number of cases the District Court has to resolve on a daily basis in an efficient and fair manner is the most important issue facing the court. District Court faces all of society's challenges every day by default, including but not limited to domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, drugs, alcohol, mental health, and family law matters. Each case has the right to be heard. The challenge is to process and prioritize the cases in an expeditious manner to accomplish this difficult goal.
My top priority is to support any and all viable efforts at alternative sentences, especially with respect to juveniles, defendants with drug and alcohol issues, and mental health needs. Unfortunately, the jail has become the modern catchall for all of our social ills, which it is not equipped to handle. I will continue to volunteer in the Durham community, trying to prevent any of these above problems from making their way into the court system.
2. What qualifies you to serve?
I have practiced law since 1989. I have extensive experience in every area of District Court, including civil lawsuits and criminal defense work, civil commitments, traffic, juvenile, IV-D child support, Department of Social Services cases, adoptions, and family law matters. I have had the opportunity to learn from outstanding District Court Judges from the past and present and all of my colleagues over the years. I will apply my training, experience, and accumulated knowledge to the District Court in a fair and impartial manner.
3. How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach?
I am a registered Democrat, but partisan politics have absolutely no place in District Court. It is my duty to apply the law to the facts in a fair and consistent manner and I will do so.
4. FOR INCUMBENTS: What have been your most important decisions in your current capacity?
FOR CHALLENGERS: What decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with?
In the month of August 2013, Judge Walker was reversed twice by the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In both cases, I strongly agree with the Court of Appeals.
In the first case, Willis v. Roberts (00 CVD 2860), Roberts was held in civil contempt for failure to pay alleged child support arrearages. Because the record contained no effective order that required him to pay arrearages, the court reversed Judge Walker's contempt citation.
Next in, Wood v. Orr, Jr. (92 CVD 5241) Judge Walker held the Defendant in contempt after summarily concluding that he had the present ability to pay child support. The Court of Appeals reversed on a host of reasons, including the trial court's own findings that the Defendant was unemployed and that the Defendant was using his $430 a month SSI check (his only source of income) to contribute to his current household expenses. In a footnote to this unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals noted that "baby" and "child" referenced by Judge Walker as needing the child support in the contempt proceeding was twenty-one at the time.
5. What do you feel was the U.S. Supreme Court's most important recent decision? Did you agree with the majority?
Did you agree with the majority? McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, 572U.S.___ (2014) strikes down the cap on the total amount of money an individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election period. I disagree with the 5-4 majority, which effectively further opened the door to influence brought not by public opinion but bought by money alone.
6. Have you ever pled guilty or no contest to any criminal charge other than a minor traffic offense? Please explain.
7. 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.
As a District Court Judge, it is imperative that those before me are not only treated fairly but that their sentences meet the expectation of justice. For example, I have a principled stand that the mentally ill and those suffering with addictions should not just be dumped into jail and forgotten. I will constantly look for sentencing alternatives that may cost me popularity points with voters.
8. What improvements can be made in terms of the juvenile justice system? What are the weaknesses or constraints in the court’s handling of juvenile offenders?
I believe that Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey has worked tirelessly over the years to improve Juvenile Court. I congratulate her on the recent Juvenile Diversion Court that has come to fruition through the efforts of so many people dedicated to that cause. I will support all efforts to find alternative sentencing and help to juveniles.
The weaknesses and constraints in handling juvenile court are obvious: too many cases, too little money, and too few diversionary courts.
9. What do think the priorities should be for Durham law enforcement?
The Durham Police Department would better serve the community if they followed the Sheriff's Department's model. The Durham County Sheriff's Department has done an excellent job moving toward community based law enforcement and prevention .
10. What additional resources would you like to see implemented for defendants? Is there a need for more diversion courts or sentencing services?
There is a definite need for more diversion courts and sentencing services. However, the state legislature is not moving in this direction with appropriate funding levels. Within the reality of the monetary constraints, I will attempt to marshal already existing community resources to fill in these gaps, as well as continue to utilize and increase the number of diversion courts and sentencing alternatives now available.
11. Many people complain that the criminal justice system is clogged with defendants suffering from mental illnesses. How would you like to see this problem addressed?
I would like for the mentally ill to be treated by mental health experts. The sad reality is that the services are not fully funded or in place and the mentally ill have no resources to turn to. I would like to see this problem resolved with diversionary courts and creative sentencing that addresses the underlying problems.
12. Durham Public School suspensions are on the rise, and many people worry about the so-called “school to prison pipeline.” Can anything be done to remedy the problem on the judicial side of things?
The Juvenile Diversionary program is a big step in the right direction. Also, Judges can go into the community to educate both juveniles and the greater population on the court system and its negative impact on them. The "school to prison pipeline" is a waste of potential and talent. I will do all I can to reverse this tragedy.
13. Persistent domestic violence calls-for-service have befuddled law enforcement, women’s advocates and criminal justice officials across the state. What role can you play to help the situation?
This is a serious issue that needs the full attention of the community. I will listen carefully to all of the above groups and support their efforts, while applying their collective knowledge to my own to do the absolute best to deal with this persistent, tragic, and volatile issue.


May1, 2014 - The Triangle Tribune (the Voice of the Black Community) announced its endorsement of Henry Pruette for the 2014 Primary Election over incumbent Judge Doretta Walker.


April 23, 2014 - The Indy Week announced its endorsement of Henry Pruette for the 2014 Primary Election over incumbent Judge Doretta Walker.   For more on this endorsement, see my Home Page.


April 23, 2014 -  Henry Pruette received the endorsement of the Concerned Citizens of Durham for the Walker seat. 


April 22, 2014 - The NC Bar Association released the results of a survey conducted among the members of the bar regarding the candidates for District Court Judges.  Henry Pruette significantly outscored the incumbent in each of the six categories. 

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
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.
7. No.
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.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pandora Internet Radio Turned down my Music

Why did my music not get approved to play on Pandora?

MEMPHIS TN (IFS)  -- Let's face it.  Pandora is just another Internet radio site.  It's power is far reaching, but not life giving to any recording artist or songwriter.  Pandora's formula is just like the everyday "car radio stations", they only play the hits.  Pandora do not create talent, they just exploit it.  Pandora is just one of 483 Million Internet stations across the world.

Our parent company own seven such radio stations, and have been on the cutting edge of Internet radio since its beginning in 1993, when nobody even knew what the heck you were talking about.  It was incredible that one could conceive getting music delivered on your computer.   

SDC's computer software developing unit in 1995, Infotronics USA compression software placed a three minute single on a 3.5 1/2 inch floppy disk that turned the heads of the music industry.  

My how far we have come in such a short period of time, that the recording artists live and die on the acceptance of Pandora Internet Radio? Let's get real.  A hit record does not need to be endorsed by Pandora Radio.

You want a "hit" record, get chosen by the SDC Radio Networks for their play lists which is one of the oldest on the Internet and they have generated hit records, Grammy artists, plus a lot of records that end up in TV and Radio ads.  Just luck?  Consistency is programming the right songs, by letting the listeners chose what play and what is not played.  

At SDC Radio Networks, we give "second chances" and even "third chances" for the listeners to re-evaluate what they believe their ears.  Sometime, it takes a couple of reprogramming choices for some songs to "catch" your ears, and when it does, it becomes a sensation.

So to you artists who gets rejected by Pandora Radio, and who's fate rely on ONE listener to determine if your music is placed on their list.  Pandora could not produce a hit recording if their lives depended on it. They just use what artists produce for them to finger through, so they can say the following crap. . .

                                                                       "We have a deep respect for artists and their work, and we take the responsibility of curating Pandora’s collection very seriously to give our listeners music and comedy that enhances their personalized listening experience.  

This decision has been made purely on the basis of what is best for Pandora’s collection. We curate music that works for personalized radio listening, and that we expect will connect with an audience.

Pandora takes this responsibility very seriously, and we aspire to be as consistent and accurate as we can when reviewing submissions. Each submission is reviewed carefully by one of our curators, independent from bias. We proudly invest many hours every week reviewing each submission and we are committed to doing this even with our ever-growing volume. We do not reconsider submissions once an initial decision has been made. That said, suggestions from listeners and ongoing external research help guide future music and comedy inclusions."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Radio stars fired for whacking unusual Dem policy

The firing of two upstate New York radio hosts because they questioned their local government’s paying for transgender surgery and counseling for city employees is raising questions about free speech on the air.
Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck, the long-running hosts of “The Breakfast Buzz with Kimberly and Beck” on WBZA Radio (98.9 FM), were fired last week by Entercom Rochester, which deemed the pair’s remarks hateful and offensive.

Mayor Lovely Warren, D-Rochester, N.Y.
The saga began when Rochester’s Democrat Mayor Lovely Warren announced a new health-care policy allowing city workers to receive a variety of services related to gender reassignment.
According to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper, “Under the new coverage, effective Jan. 1, city employees will be eligible to receive services related to gender reassignment surgery, such as medical and psychological counseling, hormone therapy and cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.”
Among some of the dialogue by Kimberly and Beck in response to the policy:
  • “Transgender or gender nonconforming. What the hell does that mean? Like you’re not a woman or a man?”
  • “The dude can look like a lady and the city is going to pay for it!” (As Aerosmith’s song “Dude Looks Like a Lady played in the background)
  • “Does that mean then if women want a boob job they’ll pay for a boob job? Because that’s only right.”
  • “The services that will be paid for under the new coverage – gender-reassignment surgery, psychological counseling, because you’re probably a nutjob to begin with!”
  • “It’s a slippery slope. Then if some woman can go to a doctor and it’d be proven that she’s got mental issues because her rack’s not big enough then you know what? She deserves a boob job, Right, Kimberly? Or she deserves liposuction.”
  • “Right, if you can prove you’re a nut, I guess.”
The radio hosts also discussed female transgender athletes, and how they should definitely not be able to compete in sports, saying: “When he steps up to the plate, doesn’t he have two bats?”

Finally, a woman phoned the pair to tell them: “It’s incredibly disrespectful towards transgender people. Please don’t spread any misinformation especially when you’re joking about it.” “Thank you, sir!” was the reply, with laughter from others.

A day after being suspended for their comments, management at WBZA booted them off the air completely. “Entercom fired Kimberly and Beck effective immediately,” said Sue Munn, vice president and general manager of Entercom Rochester. “Their hateful comments against the transgender community do not represent our station or our company. We deeply apologize to the transgender community, the community of Rochester, and anyone else who was offended by their comments.

We are proud of our past work on behalf of the local LGBT community and we remain committed to that partnership.” “What we heard on the radio could be defined as nothing more than hate speech,” Scott Fearing of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley told WROC-TV. “It was bullying of the worst kind.” Radio-industry expert Scott Fybush told WROC broadcasters are in a difficult situation, trying to get ratings while at the same time not going too far. “It’s tricky, because when you’re in a position like that, you have to be somewhat edgy to draw an audience, but you have to know where that line is and it’s a line that’s constantly moving. But if you go over it and you’re too edgy, the station faces the risk of losing advertisers.” “You weigh the risks and the rewards,” Fybush added. “Is it worth getting the ratings and the revenue they were bringing in against the risk of having more public backlash against you and especially against the risk of having this continue for a long time?”

“You don’t have any First Amendment rights to go on the radio and say whatever you want,” said Fybush. “You’re working as an employee of a for-profit corporation and you’re probably working under a contract that says you have to meet certain standards of what you can and can’t say on the air so you don’t embarrass your employer.” Assemblyman Bill Nojay, who hosts his own right-leaning talk-radio program, would have preferred Entercom starting an educational debate by inviting transgender advocates on Kimberly and Beck’s show.

 “We shouldn’t be firing people, terminating their employment, ending their livelihood because you disagree with them,” Nojay told WROC. “Let’s have that open debate. That’s what radio and television is for. It’s chilling.” “I just think we all need to chill out a little bit. We’re reaching a point in society so many people are saying so many things people disagree with,” he added. “If everybody got fired for having opinions, there’s not going to be a whole lot of people with opinions out there and that’s a dangerous thing in a democracy.”

 The controversy has sparked plenty of online discussion, including: “I think it’s a sad day. I say this because we’ve bent so far sideways to be politically correct we don’t stand for anything any more. Everyone is always offended by something. You feel like you can’t say a damn thing. We are all entitled to our opinions, and we are allowed to agree to disagree.

This sets a very bad precedent. Going forward every time some sensitive pansies feelings are hurt they are going to demand someone loses their job.” “You want me to believe that questioning the waste of tax dollars is a viable reason for dismissal of a talk-show host? They are paid to be opinionated, they are groomed, selected and hired to be controversial. If they ain’t controversial enough, they don’t draw an audience, but if they are too controversial, they get fired? Have you heard Howard Stern? Have you heard Imus?” “Tough luck. Free speech has consequences.

The First Amendment only guarantees you protection from the government. Sponsors have a reputation and people like these two hateful ‘POSes’ do not deserve to be on public airwaves spewing their brand of hatred. America deserves better than this and quite frankly all those hateful people that pollute our airwaves. Learn the Constitution or better yet, bad mouth a race of people on your social-media page and see how long you last at your job.” “So sick of having gay, transgender B.S. being forced upon us!

They claim they want tolerance and acceptance but their actions and bully tactics clearly demonstrate they are the most intolerant. Where the hell has the First Amendment gone? I find homosexuality very offensive, and I always exercise my right to turn the channel. You panty-wearing men need to do the same thing!” “Celebrate Diversity! … Unless you’re different.”

Friday, May 16, 2014

Maryland Pols Make 'House of Cards' Power Play on Popular Show

Maryland Pols Make 'House of Cards' Power Play on Popular Show

Friday, 28 Mar 2014 02:53 PM
By Joe Battaglia

In a case of life imitating art, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a hardball budget amendment Thursday threatening to seize the property of the television show "House of Cards" by eminent domain if producers follow through on their threat to film outside the state unless they receive a hefty tax break. 

Makers of the Netflix hit political thriller have been angling to for tax relief exceeding the $26.6 million it is currently claiming. Just last week, actor Kevin Spacey was deployed to Annapolis to try and charm money out of legislators over crab balls, filet mignon skewers and themed cocktails at the Red Wine Bar.
Maryland House of Delegates passed a hardball budget amendment Thursday threatening to seize the property of the television show "House of Cards" by eminent domain 

NH Police commissioner refuses to apologize or resign for calling President Obama the N-word

New Hampshire police commissioner refuses to apologize or resign for calling President Obama the N-word Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, who’s 82 and white, has acknowledged in an email to his fellow police commissioners he used the racial slur in describing Obama. He refused to apologize or resign, even saying in an email that Obama 'meets and exceeds my criteria for' using the slur.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Thursday, May 15, 2014, 8:53 PM Read more:

Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens Thursday in Wolfeboro, N.H. as town residents ask for his resignation after being overheard calling President Obama the N-word at a restaurant.JIM COLE/APWolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens Thursday in Wolfeboro, N.H. as town residents ask for his resignation after being overheard calling President Obama the N-word at a restaurant.
WOLFEBORO, N.H. — A police commissioner in a predominantly white New Hampshire town says he won’t apologize for calling President Barack Obama the N-word, and he sat with his arms crossed while angry residents at a meeting called for his resignation on Thursday.
Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, who’s 82 and white, has acknowledged in an email to his fellow police commissioners he used the racial slur in describing Obama.
Town resident Jane O’Toole, who moved to Wolfeboro four months ago, said she overheard Copeland say the slur at a restaurant in March and wrote to the town manager about it. Copeland, in an email to her, acknowledged using the slur in referring to the president and said he will not apologize.
“I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,” Copeland said in the email to his fellow police commissioners, part of which he forwarded to O’Toole. “For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

Copeland, who has declined to be interviewed, is one of three members of the police commission, which hires, fires and disciplines officers and sets their salaries. He ran unopposed for re-election and secured another three-year term on March 11.
About 20 black people live in Wolfeboro, a town of 6,300 residents in the scenic Lakes Region, in the central part of New Hampshire, a state that’s 94 percent white and 1 percent black. None of the town police department’s 12 full-time officers is black or a member of another minority.
Carroll County Deputy Sheriff Paul Bois, who’s black, is one of two officers the town employs part time during the summer to deal with tourists. When asked to comment outside the meeting, he said, “I’d love to, but I can’t.”

Town Manager David Owen said Thursday that while he finds Copeland’s comment “reprehensible,” he and the board of selectmen have no authority to remove an elected official. He said he expected a large number of residents would call for Copeland’s resignation at the police commission meeting, and they did.
More than 100 people packed into the meeting room at the Wolfeboro Public Library, where librarian Joyce Davis said she can’t remember an issue in 40 years that has sparked so much emotion and outcry. Many of the people wore on their shirts handmade stickers saying, “Resign,” directed at Copeland.
“Comments like these, especially coming from a public official, are not only inexcusable but also terribly, unfortunately, reflects poorly on our town,” said O’Toole, who was met with resounding applause.

Commissioner Ron Goodgame, in response to a challenge from O’Toole about whether he and Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. endorse Copeland’s comments, said, “It’s neither my view or Commissioner Balboni’s view that the remarks are condoned.”
Balboni told the Concord Monitor he didn’t plan to ask Copeland to resign. He said after the meeting the three commissioners would meet privately soon to “solve the matter” before making an announcement.
Nearly two dozen speakers at Thursday’s meeting called on Copeland to quit, and two spoke in his defense. Resident Frank Bader mocked those who took offense at Copeland’s comments in a state that prizes freedom.

Town resident Jane O'Toole, who says she heard a police commissioner in her town, Robert Copeland, call President Obama the N-word, asks for his resignation at a meeting.JIM COLE/APTown resident Jane O'Toole, who says she heard a police commissioner in her town, Robert Copeland, call President Obama the N-word, asks for his resignation at a meeting.
“All this man did was express his displeasure with the man who’s in office,” Bader said.
After Balboni closed the meeting’s public comment session, many people in the audience descended on Copeland, who remained seated at the commissioners’ table and staunchly refused to engage them.
“I want to think about what’s going on and decide,” he said.