All three candidates running for district attorney in Durham are capable. All believe in mitigating the harms that can come from contact with the criminal justice system.
Defense attorney Daniel Meier has gotten lost in the starker choice between incumbent Roger Echols and Satana Deberry, the executive director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition whose candidacy has excited voters who don't think Echols has done enough to reform the office.
Deberry's candidacy is indeed exciting. She doesn't have the typical resume for a DA candidate, and her supporters see that as a plus. It's clear she's committed to racial and social justice. But we can't look past the fact that much of her campaign website was copied and pasted from the platform of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, and that, when confronted, she denied plagiarism, though she admitted that she borrowed heavily from Krasner.
We believe Echols has begun much of the work that voters itching for more reform want to see, and a change in leadership at this point would be disruptive to that progress.
In four years, he steadied what was a troubled office, gained the respect of colleagues in the court system, and instituted changes to handle cases more expeditiously, divert more cases from court, and incorporate restorative justice practices. He deserves a chance to continue what he's started.
If he gets another term, we hope he will be more aggressive in implementing these reform-minded changes.