Folks, When I received a report from a trusted source that a former Shelby Mayor had been caught for DWI Sunday evening, I decided to check out some online records for confirmation. What I found out in those record checks has caused me to turn my attention in another direction. Let the Shelby Daily Liar send one of their Gastonia reporters to Shelby for that original report. I “scoop” the Shelby Star often enough. This article will report on what’s in the FUTURE for Shelby and the rest of Cleveland County.
First of all, I punched up the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office on google. I clicked on Daily Briefings and found nothing on a DWI for a former Shelby Mayor. Then, since I was there on the Sheriff’s Office website, I clicked on the Daily Jail Log. Again, nothing about a former Shelby Mayor. What I did find turned my research into a different direction. A much more important finding that the people of Cleveland County will NOT hear about from anybody else but me.
The jail showed a total of 272 inmates-pretty close to full capacity. As I scrolled on through, I found a name or two that I recognized. Dowell Hudson was one of them. Hudson was arrested June 3, 2021 for assault on a female. Hudson has a big reputation in the Upper Cleveland County for beating up on women, drugs and thieving of all kinds. He is known for either being in jail for some crime or, if he happens to be out of jail, on the run from the law for other alleged crimes. On what seems to be a never-ending cycle. Some say Dowell Hudson killed Asha Degree and dumped her body in an old well somewhere in Upper Cleveland County. I suspect the Sheriff’s Office has followed that lead somewhere along the way. Perhaps that is why the DA’s Office and the Judges keep letting Hudson out of jail. Let him run for a while and maybe get lucky and find some clues on the Asha Degree case. I say pass a law against “Habitual Misdemeanors” and pack Hudson off to prison for 10-15 years at a time. Until he learns some sense.
Other arrest dates showed a goodly number of people in jail for weeks, months and even years.
50-B hearings caught my eye. Men locked up 10 days or more at a time without being found guilty of any crime. Lots of opportunity for mischief doing that. At least it indicates to me that the Court system has some big Constitutional issues. To say the least.
Child Support cases also had multiple people in Jail. I wondered how can a person in jail work to pay child support. It’s a Catch-22 situation with plenty of opportunities for mischief for the DSS.
Probation Violations were one of the largest numbers of crimes that locked people up. Men and women. During one of my adventures doing some Court Watching, I happened to look at the Felony Court Calendar posted outside the Courtroom Door and found around 80% of the many-many cases were for Probation Violation. Some for a Probation Violation Charge for violating a previous Probation Violation Charge on top of the original charge that resulted in being sentenced to probation. It’s an old District Attorney Trick-Plea Bargaining! Someone is charged with a crime and the DA Offers a reduced sentence to avoid having to “Try” the case. The alleged criminal, typically poor, cannot afford big lawyer bills so an offer of probation-no time in jail-seems like the easy way out. (For both the DA and the person charged.) Only thing is, if you are on probation for a crime and get charged with any other crime-Jaywalking or spitting on the sidewalk- you also get charged with Probation Violation of the original charges. Often, for the original crime, that might have been thrown out of Court in the first place. From the overall statistics, plea bargaining and Probations are easy on the DA, but fills up the jails in the long run.
Inmate Taylon Peeler (Black/Male/23) was arrested February 21, 2020 for Failure to Wear a Seat Belt-Driver. Even if the 2020 is a typo for 2021, four months (maybe a year and for months) seems like a cruel and unusual punishment for such a petty crime. There must be more to this story than what meets the eye. But, another inmate to keep the jail full is the outcome.
The Jail Log also included a number of inmates in jail waiting on trials. If you remember the Murder Trial in the killing of Shelby Police K-9 Officer Tim Brackeen, four or five people were locked up in jail for over three years each without trial or convictions. All because the DA didn’t have a good case for Murder One and was pushing for a Plea-Bargain to avoid a murder trial that the DA might lose.
This Jail log shows that:
Inmate Thomas Reginald Byers Black/Male/58 has been in jail since June 27, 2018 for probation violation and Sex crimes against a child is waiting for trial. That is three years in jail waiting for a trial. Plenty of time to try him and send him off to prison and out of our jail. Something smells here too.
The longest time in jail without a trial was DavaIughia OBrian Snipes, Black/Male/30, charged with First Degree Murder on June 29, 2017. Four years in jail under a $100,000 Bond that he can’t raise, waiting for a trial. Obviously, another keep them in jail to force a plea bargain for the convenience of the DA’s office only.
These mentioned cases were just a sample of Courthouse inefficiencies filling up our jail instead of putting the baddest ones in prison. Full jails such that the Courthouse crowd wants a new $20 Million jail to hold more inmates that the DA’s office has stacked up waiting for trials. Perhaps voters will find Cleveland County a NEW District attorney that will try cases and have the bad guys sent off to prison instead of staying in our high dollar jail.
Now, do you think I am just pushing for less waste and more Courthouse efficiency to save taxpayers $20 Million. Although that would be a worthy endeavor, I am about to break some bad news to all of us taxpayers. According to the 2021-2022 Budget the Cleveland County Commissioners just passed, that $20 Million for a new jail is not only chickenfeed; it is a deception.
Hidden deep in the new County budget are plans to spend $95 Million on a new “Law Enforcement Campus.” Not only a new jail, but a new Courthouse too. The works. The plan has two phases. Phase One is a $50 Million plan to start with, followed by a $45 Million Second Phase. For a total of $95 Million.
Folks, what if I told you that this secret $95 Million two phase plan to build a new Law Enforcement Campus (New Jail, Courthouse, Offices, etc.) is the GOOD NEWS???
Do you care to guess what the BAD NEWS is??? Well, I am going to tell you anyway.
The Bad News is the new County Budget has ZERO dollars budgeted for new school construction. All four of Cleveland County’s traditional high schools are pushing 60 years old. Kings Mountain, Shelby, Burns and Crest. All pushing 60 years old.
What our County Commissioners have decided is to invest over $100 Million plus (probably a better estimate for the Law Enforcement Campus) invested in jails and criminals (pardon the “pun” if you include the lawyers and judges as criminals) instead of not one dime to improve the education of our children that might keep them out of jail in the first place. Note: It is a well-documented fact that a better educated population has less criminal activity. So. One would think that the $95 Million investment in new jails would be better spent building new schools??? Invest in people being better educated to be a more valuable resource for the community instead of maximizing crime opportunities with a population of those who have nothing more productive that they can do except to rob and steal; Rape and kill???
So, what gives with the Cleveland County Commissioners and their new budget with such bad priorities?
Have the Commissioners, with the surprise booting of Robert “Luke” Queen off the Cleveland Community College Board of Trustees, come to the conclusion that turning over $95 Million, and perhaps more, over to Robert “Luke” Queen as Chairman of the School Board would be one big colossal waste of taxpayer’s dollars???
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is likely YES!!! Luke Queen and his new School Board majority have taken to secrecy instead of transparency. Waste, instead of fiscal responsibility, Lies and deception instead of truth and honesty. Corruption and unethical behavior instead using good sense and putting the best education of our children as their first priority.
Basically, the evil in Robert “Luke” (Short for “Lucifer”) has shown a “dark side” as his dominant sided. Right now, Luke Queen and some co-conspirators; named by sources to be Wes Westmoreland, Dennis Bailey, Senator Ted Alexander and others, are said to be conspiring to have the North Carolina General Assembly re-appoint Robert Queen to the CCC Board of Trustees as one of their appointments. Although the NC General Assembly’s first opportunity to appoint Robert Queen to the CCC BoTs is in 2022 and they have to boot Wayne King in the process.
Robert “Luke” Queen has apparently turned himself “toxic” commodity to those around him. Those that either have recruited him into their own brand of evil or, as the old saying goes, “Birds of a feather-flock together.” That Queen’s evil has always been there, but those that originally supported Queen, including me, just missed the signs.
In conclusion, Robert Queen has made it obvious to the most casual of observers. Queen cannot be trusted and has to leave his position as Chairman of the School Board as well as being a member of the School Board. And it is relatively obvious that Queen will not resign of his own accord.
So, what to do?
My suggestion is this. Commissioners call for a reorganization of the School Board. From 9 members now, down to the more common 5 members. Have a “special Election, a partisan Special Election, this year, 2021, along with the municipalities. For those top five vote getting candidates, make the top three winners get three- year first terms in office and the four and five of the top five vote getting candidates get one-year terms. That way all school board offices get back into staggered even year election schedules with four-year terms in office as quickly as possible.
I would remind the Cleveland County Commissioners that when the new budget tax rates and the new property tax evaluations come together at the end of July as actual tax bills that taxpayers have to pay, the voters will be demanding some major actions from the Cleveland County Commissioners. And spending $95 Million for a new jail in the Law Enforcement Campus is most likely NOT going to go over well with taxpayers and voters. Having Commissioners planning to build new schools instead new jails may prolong your political career and aspirations,
Think about it.
Stay tuned folks!! None of this is over till it’s over. We can move mountains if we can get together and get our demands listened to and acted on by our “of the people, by the people and FOR THE PEOPLE” elected officials.