DA’s race heats up in Fourth Circuit

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 27, 2004

SELMA – The district attorney’s race is heating up the Fourth Judicial Circuit, as a former judge and a popular incumbent square off.

A Selma criminal defense attorney, former judge and assistant district attorney, Michael Jackson said crime has gotten out of hand in Selma and Dallas County – that’s why he’s running for district attorney.

“It’s almost like Selma has turned into Crime City U.S.A.,” Jackson said. “I’ve been talking to citizens, and people are afraid. Young or old, men or women. It’s doesn’t matter. Everybody’s afraid.”

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He’s a person who has seen crime from every angle. “I must admit, I do not like what I am seeing,” he added. “I think it’s time we have new ideas. The old ideas aren’t working.”

Ed Greene is the incumbent. First elected district attorney in 1998, Greene has locked down the endorsements of such Dallas County officials as former DA Bob “Hawkeye” Morrow, Selma Police Chief Robert Green and Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr.

“Over the past six years I’ve brought the office from a point were finances were bare to where we can hire personnel and survive state budget cuts,” Greene said. “That shows an administrative ability that should give the people reassurance.”

Since Greene has been district attorney, an assistant district attorney has been added in each of the circuit’s five counties.

Greene’s office also joined the Alabama ICE program, which focuses on prosecuting gun crimes on the federal and state level. “We’ve been nationally recognized for that,” he added.

Other successes of Greene’s are the creation of the drug task force as well as the creation of a check unit in all five counties.

“We’ve got a great staff,” Greene said. “We’ve got lawyers on this staff that can stand up to any lawyer in the state. We need to continue the programs that we have, and that’s why I’m running for office.”

Jackson, however, is running for office to curb crime. To accomplish that goal,

Jackson has a plan of action, which includes using the Perry Varner Boot Camp, having prisoners help clean the community and instilling discipline and respect into criminal offenders.

“Crime is a disease, and like many diseases, it can be terminal unless we have vision and employ innovative therapy to deal with the ailment,” Jackson said. “My wish is to heal our community, but it is going to take a collaborative effort.”

Jackson said criminal offenders in their 20s and 30s could be sent to a boot camp where they would learn discipline. Offenders would wake up early, exercise regularly and learn how to communicate.

“To house somebody in a prison costs a lot more money,” Jackson said. “This program would save a lot of money.”

Prisoners in the Dallas County Jail would improve the community by working instead of sitting in jail, Jackson said.

“I would have many of those convicted of misdemeanors at the county jail picking up paper and cleaning up our streets,” he added. “There is no reason why these criminals should be able to sleep their lives away at taxpayers’ expense.”