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Editor’s note: The candidate submitted this article to rrspin.com unsolicited and it should not be taken as an endorsement of this or any other candidate wishing to do the same as this website does not make political endorsements on the local level. Candidates wishing to share their views or platforms may do so via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

My name is Jamal Summey, and I am seeking to serve as your next district attorney for Halifax, Hertford, Northampton and Bertie counties.  

I have 24 years of criminal law experience. 

These years of experience include five years of prosecutorial experience where I trained under the honorable David Beard Jr. and 19 years as a criminal defense attorney.  

A resident of Halifax County, I am firmly rooted and vested in the community.  

With the experience as a former prosecutor and a defense attorney, I am aware of the changes our local judicial system needs and I am prepared to effect change.  

Over the many years I have served all four counties, I have developed relationships with our judiciary, law enforcement and the citizenry. 

Our communities are in dire need of new leadership who have not contributed to the backlog our system is experiencing. 

In North Carolina, the average annual costs to feed and house each jail inmate is $29,965 — Taxpayer costs for 40 states derived from Vera Institute of Justice Report).  

In North Carolina, the legislature gives the district attorney the sole unbridled discretion to calendar and try cases in superior court in each county.  

Defense attorneys have no authority to calendar and try cases.  

In this prosecutorial district, pending felony cases are up 32 percent since August of 2019.  Pending major felony cases are up 34.8 percent since August of 2019.  

Pending driving while impaired cases have increased up 54.4 percent.  

However, in a period of five years, we have had a 73 percent decrease in the prosecution of criminal cases in Halifax, Northampton, Bertie, and Hertford counties.   

The district attorney is the most powerful position in the state. It is not a position to be taken lightly.  

The role of the district attorney was designed to protect all the citizens, both defendants and victims of crime.  

Victims of crime and their families need justice.  

Offenders who commit criminal offenses should be sent to prison in a fair and efficient manner.  Our jails are overcrowded and offenders are awaiting trial in our local jails for extraordinarily long periods of time.  

My opponent is currently the chief assistant under the current district attorney, Valerie Asbell.  She has served Mrs. Asbell’s vision for 14 years, yet I ask myself daily: “Why are there so many murder cases pending in these four counties? Why are offenders still sitting in jail cells awaiting trial for four or six years? When will these defendants have their day in court and when will victims have closure?”

You deserve better.  

Electing someone who has had every opportunity but still has not aided in resolving this backlog is not the answer. 

Though COVID-19 has impacted all of us, you will see that many of these cases were pending for an enormous amount of time before COVID-19.  

But as you can see, a lot of these murder cases were pending prior to the beginning of COVID-19.  

A vote for me is a vote for change.  

You need a district attorney who is concerned about this backlog that is costing the citizens and impacting families all over our communities.  

Here is food for thought: The last murder case tried in Northampton County was in 2008 where I was the defense attorney — 2008. 

My fellow citizens, please think about that for a moment. With an enormous backlog as you see in the graphics gallery, the last murder trial was tried nearly 14 years ago.

My plan is to ensure your district attorney’s office is equipped with knowledgeable staff and processes to assist me in resolving this backlog across the district.  

I will request special sessions of superior court to address the murder case backlogs so we will not interfere with the regularly scheduled sessions of court.  

My office will thoroughly review these old cases and take necessary steps to help bring closure to these outstanding pending matters.  

One case at a time. One session at a time. We will cure this case overload. 

One of my primary focuses will be to try these murder cases and to help bring closure and healing to the families affected by these awful crimes.  

You deserve a district attorney’s office that is thorough, prepared and efficient. 

Enough is enough. 

I will be accessible and accountable every day you allow me to serve you.  

If you are concerned and you too believe our district deserves better, I am asking for your support on May 17. Together we can make a difference and it will be an honor to serve as your district attorney.