By: Steve Trubilla
In the eyes of the law it is said everyone is equal.
Wealth, family name, or political standing can be no shield from consequence for wrongdoing.
Engraved on the front of the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. is the phrase, "Equal Justice Under the Law."
The pursuit of justice is among the purest values a society can hold. For without true justice there is not a path to peace. This is true of men and nations.
Examine your own experience; have you ever found peace in being denied justice?
Vengeance is not justice, nor will it bring peace. In the pursuit of justice we have crafted laws and elevated people to stand in judgement against those that prey among us. We trust these people and rely on their fidelity, and submit to their findings.
By design this is sound. The premise is those we trust are worthy of that trust. So what are we left to do when they betray that trust, and are protected by the very laws we have crafted to empower them? Is the answer vengeance? No, a resounding no! I believe the answer is found in the dogged pursuit of justice and demanding equal protection under the law. Hold these people accountable, and subject them to the very law they are betraying.
Why is it that some people are held accountable for violating the law while others are not?
I could cite many examples on the national level, but will speak to one on the local level.
During the Clerk of Courts election in 2014, Superior Court Judge James E. Hardin reviewed a petition filed by Patricia Burnette Chastain claiming that in January of that year someone bought up more than a dozen websites using versions of her name. Hardin ruled on March 26 that Chastain was a victim of identity theft, a felony under North Carolina law.
Specifically, violation of N.C. General Statue 14-113.22(a), each act a separate charge, totaling possibly (16) felony counts; over (47) pages of evidence.
The conclusion was the act of identity theft could have occurred and could have been punishable.
So, why was this case never prosecuted? Then sitting Franklin County District Attorney Sam Currin said at the time that normally it is up to law enforcement to issue a warrant in cases of identity theft.
I could find no evidence that a warrant has ever been issued. So I called Michael Waters, the current district attorney, a few times to speak with him on the matter. My timing in calling found him not in.
Remaining diligent I left two voice mail messages with the expectation of a return call. As of 10:15 a.m. March 1, I had not received the call. My calls were placed to him at 11:09 a.m. Feb. 24, and on Feb. 26 at 9:42 a.m.
The intent of the act in my opinion was to influence the outcome on an election.
Voter fraud has many faces. It is more than just voter identification.
Trust in our legal system is the very pillar our liberty rests upon.
This was a very big story, and then it died.
Contacting Mrs. Chastain, I asked her what ever happened on it. She said she did not know; that to her knowledge, nothing.
I called the Franklin County Board of Elections and asked what happened, and was told they did not know. The State Board of Elections told me the issue of buying websites is not something they are concerned with. Additionally, I was told it does not mean the act did not violate the law, just not one of theirs.
The question of Judge Hardin's rendering remains.
I do not understand why this is so hard, it is like someone is playing 'I have a secret.'
Chasing this around, talking to many, including a former judge, it keeps coming back to the district attorney deciding what is, and is not, pursued.
The former Judge explained things can be complicated with work load, priorities, and whether the DA feels he can win. We talked about politics and if politics can come into play. He said, well, of course it can.
Absent the answer to the question, it is left to speculation. Could it be selective prosecution with political influence? I remember the 2014 election, alliances were drawn, and this particular race was very heated and contentious. Other 2014 races were also heated as well.
In line with speculation, would this case have been pursued if other people had won their election contests?
Headlines for the 2014 election have faded, and now on to headlines for the 2016 election.
No so fast!
I am writing about this because the public has an interest in it. Is it controversial? You bet it is, and there are those that would rather I did not.
Put yourself in this position. You are the victim of a crime, and one serious enough to be classified as a felony. You report it, a judge substantiates it, and nothing is done. Is this justice?
The Constitution quoted, "No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmond Burke.