ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Rotary Club heard from Assistant District Attorney Glenn Emery on Wednesday.
But for the first order of business, President Renee Horton presented Rotarian Alan Pingree with his membership package and welcomed him to the club.
Rotarian William Findt introduced Emery to the group. He began his remarks with discussing how the office is staffed.
Emery said told the group that the Bladen County District Attorney’s Office is part of a three-county district that makes up the 13th Prosecutorial District. He said the staff consists of two prosecutors — himself and Assistant District Attorney Cortney Sanford. Emery said ADA Irene Riel will be taking on “a more singular role in the Columbus County office.”
He said the staff also consists of Investigator Scott Pait, who serves all three offices in the district, and Victim Witness Assistants Kelly Starkloff and Kelly Martin and Legal Assistant Jason Britt.
“The entire district is the size of Rhode Island,” said Emery, who added there are 15 attorneys and a total staff of 25.
“Lee Bollinger is probably our most experienced prosecutor,” said Emery.
He added the mission of the District Attorney’s Office is to prosecute crime.
Emery highlighted some of the more high profile cases the Bladen County District Attorney’s office has prosecuted.
He said Bladen County has received national and international attention for the conviction of John Jacobs for sexually assaulting his biological daughter. He received a sentence of 35-plus years, according to Emery.
Emery also spoke briefly about the officer involved shooting of Declan Owen that occurred in March.
“We treat those very seriously,” said Emery.
Bladen County Sheriff’s Deputy Cley Carroll and Bladenboro Police Officer Donnie Williams were cleared of any wrong doing by the State Bureau of Investigation. Emery said that the SBI was called in to investigate the shooting as is standard procedure. He said the SBI’s report indicated the officers acted appropriately.
Emery was asked by Rotarian Ricky Leinwand about young folks becoming hooked on prescription drugs and what can be done.
Emery said that, first, people need to understand the individual has an addiction problem and it is difficult to punish an addiction. he said that often, the problem begins as a form of experimentation for the abuser. Emery said the person builds up a tolerance to the prescription drug and needs more and more. Emery said sometimes the individual moves on to substances such as Heroin.
“We try to see they get treatment (for the addiction) when possible,” said Emery.
He said there is also some thought to adding a substance abuse prosecutor who can hopefully identify the individuals early and get them treatment at an early stage.
Emery also said one of the more important issues he and his staff deal with is domestic violence. He said they also handle such offenses as traffic tickets, drug offenses shop lifting, and DUI cases. In felony court the make-up of cases is about one-quarter drug offenses and one-quarter property crimes, along with more serious crimes like murder.
—Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.