We will start by saying there isn’t any possible way to understand the frustration, anxiety and sadness that is experienced by being incarcerated for nearly 40 years for something we didn’t do.
That said, however, we must categorize Joseph Sledge’s recent civil lawsuit against Bladen County lawmen and others as both frivolous and greedy.
Let’s start with the fact that Sledge, who was sent to prison for the double-murder of Josephine Davis and Aileen Davis in Elizabethtown in 1976, was released from prison earlier this year after DNA tests proved he was not the killer. And more recently, Gov. Pat McCrory signed off on a wrongful incarceration payment of $750,000 to Sledge — an amount that, according to the state’s formula, represents $50,000 per year of incarceration up to a maximum of $750,000.
Sledge, now 70 years old and living in Savannah, Ga,. surely has more money in his bank account than he ever could have imagined even if he not spent almost four decades in prison. And with a record already started of misdeeds and jail time, it is easily worth the debate as to whether Sledge would have eventually landed in prison anyway.
Again, expecting to receive addition money to the $750,000 already deposited in his name is nothing short of greedy.
But our attention has quickly turned to the lawsuit specifics, which lists the numerous individuals Sledge is suing. That list includes former Bladen County Sheriff Earl Storms, former Sheriff Steve Bunn, former Sheriff Prentis Benston, former Chief Deputy Phillip Little, Deputy Jeff Singletary and others.
More interesting than who is listed are the names of those who are not listed as part of the lawsuit.
Strangely omitted from the civil suit are people like former District Attorney Mike Easley, former District Attorney Rex Gore, former Sheriff John Allen, all of the trial’s jury members and the two men who testified against Sledge while in jail.
For us, those missions only serve to leave holes in a civil suit that is entirely frivolous to start with.
The civil suit filed by Sledge’s attorney claims it is seeking action “to compensate Joseph Sledge for the 37 years he spent in prison as a result of (the defendants’) wrongful acts and omission and for the continuing effects of his wrongful incarceration.”
In our mind, he already has been conpensated well.