Connect with us

News

Anderton says that the opioid crisis is literally and figuratively killing us

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton (R) spoke at a town hall in Adamsville where he said that, “The opioid crisis is literally and figuratively killing us.

Anderton spoke in Adamsville at the Victory Christian Fellowship.

“The opioid crisis is literally and figuratively killing us,” Anderton said. “A lot of that is that the dealers are lacing it with really dangerous stuff.” The fentanyl that is being abused on the streets is not the prescription version.  It is manufactured in large quantities and then smuggled into the country.

“Overdoses are almost always either an especially pure batch of heroin or they are cutting it with fentanyl,” Anderson explained. A lot of drug users started using hydrocodone because their doctor prescribed it. They got addicted and when the prescription ran out they have to have it so they go to the dealers. “Hydrocodone costs them $100 a day so they switch to heroin which is just a $25 a day habit. They have made it more pure so that it can be smoked or snorted. A lot of kids who would never stick a needle in their arm will snort it or smoke it. Every time they use heroin they need to use a little more. They will all eventually stick a needle in their arm to get it.”

Anderton said that overdoses also happen when a drug addict goes to rehab, goes through withdrawal, gets the drug out of their system, and then goes back on the drug at the level they took before they quit. Their body is no longer used to the drug at that level and they overdose.

Anderton said that everyone knows not to use used needles or share needles; but heroin users don’t care. I have talked with them and they said, “I will be dead of something else before AIDs or hepatitis gets me.”
“Heroin dealers are not heroin users,” Anderton said. “There is no such thing as a heroin addict selling heroin to support their habit.”

Anderton said that massive tractor trailer loads of heroin come through Birmingham. “They are trafficking that stuff through our county. You can’t stop those kind of traffickers if you give them a break. I am not talking about the guy with a joint in his pocket or the guy that has a dime bag in her pocket. I am talking about the heavy hitters. You can not get anybody’s attention if you reduce the charges.

Public Service Announcement

Anderton said that Atlanta is a hub. If it gets to Atlanta some of it will come back here through the distribution network so it is important to catch it going through Jefferson County.

Anderton said that he will aggressively go after heroin and fentanyl traffickers but in the normal business of prosecuting, “The plea bargain is a necessary evil I am afraid.”

Anderton said that they do not overcharge in order to force a plea, “We are not going to force him to plead guilty. That’s junk. That is certainly junk in the Jefferson County DA’s office. That may have been the way it was done in the old days but that is not the way we have done it for the last 36 years.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“I have prosecuted a lot of cases, over 350,” Anderton said. “The first thing you do is analyze it.” You see if the evidence is there to justify the accusation. “We are not going to manufacture evidence. We are not going to make stuff up. Why would I grab somebody off the street and punish him with the real criminal still loose on the streets?”

“If you see it on CSI or Law and Order, Cinderella is just as realistic,” Anderton said. They have got 40 minute to have a crime, have the police respond, to collect evidence, make arrests, go to trial, and solve the case. “It does not work like that.”

“I am an Eagle Scout,” Anderton said. “I still work with the troop that I grew up on. A lot of slings and arrows have been thrown my way since I got appointed and a lot of lies have been told.”

“How can we stay safer,” Anderton said. “We have to pay attention. If you see something you have got to tell somebody. If you see two people kicking in the door of your neighbors house and the police come to you and you say nothing you are just as guilty as they are (not legally) but you could have done something.”

Anderton said that the ability of prosecutors to handle child sexual abuse has gotten a lot better than when he started as a prosecutor. David Barber opened up Prescott House.

“In the old days a child would be telling their story ten or eleven times before it ever got to court,” Anderton said. With Prescott House, “Instead of having to talk to all these policemen with guns or lawyers with legal pads they go to the Prescott House and they are interviewed by somebody who is trained how to interview children. It is videotaped. The police and DHR see that. We go to check out what the child says or debunk what the child says.” “That has truly changed how we prosecute and deal with child sex abuse cases. In the old days the DA would do the interview. I chased a three year-old around a coffee table one time asking questions in the voice that I would with an adult. I did not know how to talk to kids. I am a better prosecutor because of the Prescott House.”

Anderton showed a video of a man who testified against a man for sex abuse when he was only 12 years old.

Anderton said that the man’s molester, “Was a standup guy in the community. He was a Boy Scout leader. He was a Church youth leader.”

“He (the accuser) was just 12 years old,” Anderton said. “Because he came forward that guy (the abuser) is doing 30 years in the penitentiary.” Investigators found a serious of boys that had been abused over decades. Grown men had never come forward.

“We see kids all the time that have been abused,” Anderton said. “We do not publish it in a newspaper. We do not get a warrant until we have gathered evidence. Child sex abuse is very prevalent. I don’t like it, but we have to deal with it. When a five year old sends you a thank you note in crayon that is where the reward is.”

“The people in my office with 15 to 20 years of trial experience, they probably should make twice what they are making but they do it for the service to the community,” Anderton said.

Mike Anderton was a career District Attorney. He was appointed as Jefferson County District Attorney by Governor Kay Ivey (R) when the position became vacant.

Anderton faces Danny Carr (D) in the November 6 general election.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

Advertisement

News

Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday to visit coast impacted by Hurricane Sally

Ivey is to fly by helicopter over Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, according to an announcement to media from Ivey’s office on Thursday.

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Gov. Kay Ivey Held a post Hurricane Sally Press Conference at Alabama EMA headquarters in Clanton, Ala. Thursday September 17, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Gov. Kay Ivey plans to visit Alabama’s coastline on Friday to see for herself the damage caused by Hurricane Sally. 

Ivey is to fly by helicopter over Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, according to an announcement to media from Ivey’s office on Thursday.

Following the flyover Ivey will meet behind closed doors with Alabama Emergency Management Agency director Brian Hastings, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship, her staff, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, and local officials for a briefing. 

Ivey at noon on Friday is to hold a press conference at the Gulf State Park Lodge, followed by a flyover of Dauphin Island and another closed-door meeting before another press conference set for 3 p.m. at Dauphin Island City Hall to give an update on the state’s recovery efforts 

At least one person in Alabama died as a result of Hurricane Sally, the state’s EMA director Brian Hastings said earlier on Thursday.

More than 130,000 Alabama Power customers along the coast and Southeast Alabama were without power Thursday afternoon.

Public Service Announcement
Continue Reading

Governor

Governor awards grant to expand court facility dog program

Staff

Published

on

By

(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded $1.17 million to continue and expand a statewide program that helps children and others who have been victims of crime feel more at ease when testifying in court or undergoing other crime-related interviews.

The grant to the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services will enable that state agency to continue its facility dog program.

The program uses specially trained dogs to calm traumatized victims when they are called into the courtroom or interview room to recount details of often horrific crimes committed against them.

“I cannot imagine what victims, especially children, have to go through when they are called before strangers to recall what is often a very personal and sensitive tragedy that they have difficulty even relaying to family members,” Ivey said. “This program has proven beyond successful and has been admired and modeled by other states. I am pleased to support its continuation and expansion here in Alabama.”

Facility dogs have been used more than 1,000 times including forensic interviews, court hearings, medical examinations and other case-related matters. The dogs are based in several counties, but according to the Office of Prosecution Services, are available for use throughout the state.   

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available to the state from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The facility dog program has been vastly successful and well received throughout the state,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell. “Although we would prefer that there would be no reason for this program to even exist, ADECA joins with Gov. Ivey in assisting with its continued success.”

Public Service Announcement

Ivey notified Barry Matson, executive director of Prosecution Services, that the grant had been approved. 

ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, victim programs, economic development, water resource management, energy conservation and recreation.

Continue Reading

Elections

Secretary of State extends absentee voting for Senate District 26 special election

Staff

Published

on

By

(STOCK PHOTO)

Secretary of State John Merrill has officially extended the opportunity for anyone concerned about COVID-19 to apply for and cast an absentee ballot for the Senate District 26 special election.

The special primary election for Senate District 26 will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 17. If necessary, a runoff election will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The general election will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

Any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their polling place shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application that is most applicable to that individual.

State law allows the secretary of state to issue absentee voting guidance during declared states of emergency, allowing Merrill to encourage voters to check the box which reads, “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]” unless another box applies.

For the Nov. 17 primary election, the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Thursday, Nov. 12. If delivered by hand, absentee ballots must be returned by Monday, Nov. 16. If delivered by mail, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 16.

Continue Reading

National

Jones introduces bill to forgive CARES Act loans for small businesses impacted by hurricanes

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Sen. Doug Jones speaks during a live-streamed press briefing. (VIA JONES CAMPAIGN)

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, on Thursday introduced legislation that would forgive small business loans made under the CARES Act in counties hard-hit by Hurricanes Sally and Laura. 

The Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act of 2020 would establish a process for businesses in counties with major disaster declarations from Hurricane Sally to seek forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, according to a press release from Jones’s office. 

“As folks across South Alabama begin the work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sally, I believe Congress should be assisting them in any way we can,” Jones said in a statement. “That’s why I’m joining Senator Kennedy, from our neighbor Louisiana, to introduce bipartisan legislation that ensures small businesses impacted by Hurricanes Sally and Laura can benefit from loan forgiveness for COVID-19 relief programs.” 

“Alabama’s Main Street businesses have struggled already during the pandemic, and Hurricane Sally is yet another devastating hit. This legislation will cut through government red tape and allow forgiveness of business loans received as part of our CARES legislation as they continue to re-open and re-build. It is one way we can help them survive these compounding disasters and continue to serve our communities and create jobs,” Jones continued. 

To qualify under the program, impacted businesses would have to provide their lenders with a form stating they used the loans as intended in order to receive loan forgiveness. The Small Business Administration would have the authority to review and audit forgiven loans, according to the release. 

Alabama businesses received $6.2 billion in PPP loans, which closed at the end of Aug. 8. As of that time, there had been a total of 41,243 EIDL loans totaling $1.84 billion issued to small businesses in Alabama.

Jones in May called for increased guidance and loan forgiveness for small businesses that applied for PPP loans.

Public Service Announcement

In April, he supported legislation to replenish PPP funds and gave additional relief to Alabama’s small businesses. Jones also introduced legislation in May to fund payrolls of eligible businesses to help business owners cover workers’ wages during the pandemic.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement