June 10, 2013
“The danger posed by courts and prosecutors who abdicate their responsibilities to uphold the Constitution in favor of overwhelming community sentiment was recently illustrated in State v. Robert Fulton Kelly Jr.
“The trial prosecutor and the Superior Court judge were so overwhelmed by community sentiment that the trial was converted from a proceeding to adjudicate Mr. Kelly’s guilt or innocence into a forum to assist the families of the scores of alleged child victims recover from the gut-wrenching allegations of the 100-count indictment. The result: Justice was poorly served.
“The individuals thought to be victims and their many family members, loved ones and neighbors were frustrated, angered and in the end felt cheated. The individuals accused of heinous abuse of scores of children were deprived of a fair trial and deprived of liberty for more than three years.”
– From a talk by Henderson Hill, director of the N.C. Resource Center, Office of the Appellate Defender, at the Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. Constitutional Issues Program, (May 18, 1995)