posted on January 28, 2009 16:56
Here’s another suggestion for Republicans in the General Assembly.
Tuesday the News and Observer (which seems to have an absolutely nonpartisan passion for exposing corruption in state government) published another story about the foibles of the Paroles/Probation Department – the outfit that lost track of 15,000 paroles under Governor Easley. (Earlier the N&O reported criminals on probation have murdered 500 people, including students at Carolina and Duke.)
The latest story is about a probation officer in Dunn, Mark Hornsby. It seems Officer Hornsby got word from local police that a drug dealer on probation was again selling drugs. So, one night, Officer Hornsby surprised the drug dealer while he was sitting in his car in front of an apartment complex. The other fellow, sitting in the front seat beside the drug dealer, lit out and vanished then Officer Hornsby searched the car. He didn’t have a search warrant but he didn’t need one – because drug dealers on probation agree they can be searched any time by probation officers in exchange for the state not sending them to prison.
But this drug dealer also obviously knew something about the mysterious by-ways of modern ethics (and state government). He promptly filed a complaint with Officer Hornsby’s superior, claiming he’d been ‘harassed.’
Now, in the modern world, waving the word ‘harassment’ in front of a bureaucrat is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. The superior promptly reprimanded Hornsby. Why? Well, it seems this parolee had escaped Hornsby’s jurisdiction by moving to the county next door. In other words, Hornsby’s superior reprimanded him for searching a drug dealer (convicted in his county) because the drug dealer had moved to another county.
Now, when the News and Observer got wind of all this it started investigating and guess what? Nobody in state government wanted to talk to them. They called the supervisor, the supervisor’s supervisor, and the personnel chief of the Department of Crime Control. They were told, ‘No comment.’ ‘No comment.’ And ‘I can’t discuss personnel matters.’ God knows what will happen if they ask for copies of emails.
Here’s a suggestion for Republicans.
Call Officer Hornsby, the two supervisors, and anyone else with anything to offer up to the legislature for a hearing and question them. Then we’ll have more facts in the public record than ‘No comment.’
If the Democrats block a hearing, fine – hold one just with Republicans.
If the Democrats block that too, fine – call them before the Republican caucus.
If they refuse to come – write the governor.
If she refuses to send them – well, by then, the Republicans will have shown just about every Democrat in state government covering up whatever is happening in the Parole/Probation Department – which is no mean accomplishment.
They might also write Governor Perdue and ask for a list of the 15,000 ‘lost’ parolees – and an update each week on the progress the governor’s Crime Control Department is making when it comes to finding them.
And put that in the public record too.
To her credit Governor Perdue has cleaned house at the Department of Crime Control – but what’s wrong with a little public monitoring of the progress her new appointees are making cleaning up the mess – that’s what being the loyal opposition is all about.
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