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What sorts of issues does District Attorney Ben David regularly handle in court?

Larry Sackett
StarNews
District Attorney Ben David

District Attorney Ben David. (StarNews file photo)

“No two days are the same,” New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said.

One day he may be handling a serious criminal charge in Superior Court, such as a rape, murder, spousal abuse or child molestation case.

The next day he and several assistant district attorneys could be handling hundreds of minor traffic offenses in Administrative Traffic Court in either Pender or New Hanover counties.

On a recent Wednesday morning, David and his assistant DAs processed more than 700 traffic cases at the Pender County Courthouse in Burgaw in less than an hour and a half. Later that morning David met with two families who had lost loved ones due to a serious crime.

“I want to get to know them and give them an overview of how the cases will proceed,” he said.

At noon the same day David attended a ceremony honoring Wilmington attorney George Rountree III, who received the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award.

David said his focus is on violent crime, “the ones that cause the most public harm.”

David manages an office with 20 assistant district attorneys and 25 non-lawyers.

The DA’s office handles more than 75,000 cases a year, the majority of which are minor traffic offenses. About 5,000 cases are felony offenses. Of these about 98 percent result in a plea, a non-jury disposition of a case in front of a judge.

“We handle about 60 to 70 actual jury trials in a year,” David said.

One of these was the trial of former New Hanover County Alcoholic Beverage Control chief Billy Williams, who was convicted of a felony charge of obtaining property by false pretense.

David said verdicts in cases like the Williams case send a message that violations of the public’s trust will not be tolerated.

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