Judge working on new plan for suspects awaiting trial in Durham

Durham County News
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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A new policy for people waiting for a trial could be coming to Durham within two weeks.  

Newly-appointed Chief District Court Judge Pat Evans confirms with CBS 17 that she’s working on that proposal right now.  

Some people are behind bars in the Durham County Detention Center because they can’t afford bond or the county just hasn’t gotten to their case yet.  

“My concern is are we giving equal treatment to all persons in terms of setting bonds,” said David LaBarre, a former chief district court judge in Durham.  

“If you have a case, proceed with the case,” he said. “If you don’t have a case, then don’t use it as pre-trial leverage to get folks to plead to something just so they can get out of jail.” 

Evans tells CBS 17 a change is coming. 

 She’s working on a new pre-trial release policy with Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson.

 CBS 17 has learned they’re considering including recommendations from District Attorney Satana Deberry in that new policy. 

Deberry recommends the policy takes wealth out of the equation for bonds, instead focusing on community danger and risk of flight.  

Evans tells CBS 17 the new policy will be consistent with the general statutes of North Carolina.  

LaBarre believes a new policy should not include structured sentencing.  

“You have to consider the circumstances it seems to me of each case, of all cases,” he said. “It’s a hard job but that’s what we’re there for.” 

Evans and Orlando plan to sign off on the new policy by the end of this month, which will then immediately go into effect. 

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