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Dysart Willis

North Carolina towns want to push defendants to federal courts

It is just an hour's drive northwest of Raleigh to get to Alamance County. The city council in the county seat of Graham recently became the first in the area to allocate money for a new prosecutor to be devoted to drug crimes as well as firearms violations and prosecution of violent crimes, a news report states.

What makes this new prosecutor position so interesting is that this person will be tasked with prosecuting people under federal laws so that after conviction, they will be housed outside of North Carolina's crowded prison system. Of course, those prosecuted would also be punished under federal sentencing guidelines, often tougher than state guidelines.

The council agreed to pay nearly $10,000 to help pay to fill the position. It should be noted that this isn't an entirely new idea. There was a similar position from 2011 to 2015, at that time paid for with a federal grant.

The office successfully prosecuted 82 people with an average prison sentence of nearly seven years, the news report states.

Various area communities have been asked to kick in prorated portions (determined by population) of the $97,281 needed to pay the prosecutor's salary, benefits and expenses.

An example included in the proposal for the position was the case of a man who committed several robberies from the time he was 18 (in 2009) until he was arrested in 2011. He was charged as a career criminal, the Times-News report states, and is now serving 17 years in federal prison.

Those facing similar accusations can speak with a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending clients in the federal Eastern District of North Carolina court.