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DURHAM, NC — In 2020, the Durham DA’s Office continued efforts to advance racial equity in the criminal legal system, prioritize serious offenses including cold case sexual assaults, and be more accessible to the public.

In addition, Durham DA’s Office staff were on the frontlines of helping to adapt busy courtrooms in a time of social distancing and continue the important functions of the courts during the pandemic.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE 2020 ANNUAL REPORT

Among the highlights from 2020:

  • A trauma-informed collaboration between the DA’s Office, the Durham Police Department and the Durham Crisis Response Center led to arrests in 18 sexual assaults going back to 1984.
  • With the Vera Institute of Justice, the DA’s Office helped to spearhead an unprecedented racial equity training attended by partners and stakeholders across Durham’s criminal legal system.
  • In partnership with the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, the DA’s Office began holding quarterly sessions with the families of homicide victims to answer their questions about the court process and hear directly from them about their experiences.
  • The Criminal Justice Resource Center and the DA’s Office launched a post-arrest diversion program to hold people who have a history of contact with the courts accountable, while helping them to not return again.
  • The Office continues to partner with outside researchers to scrutinize how we use our discretion and ensure our decisions are free of disparities.
  • DA’s Office staff worked with defense counsel and judges to safely lower the population of the Durham County Detention Facility to reduce spread of COVID-19 in the jail and the broader community.
  • The DEAR Program, in which the DA’s Office is a partner, completed a two-year effort to waive court debt preventing 11,000 residents from being able to restore their drivers’ licenses.

“I am so proud of the many ways our attorneys, support staff, and administration stepped up in 2020 to continue serving the people of Durham County. Although court operations were reduced most of the year, our staff continued to review evidence, inform victims, and resolve cases,” said District Attorney Satana Deberry.

“Through the challenges of 2020, the Durham DA’s Office remained open and focused on the safety of our community by prioritizing serious and violent offenses for prosecution, taking steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and ensuring our response to every case is equitable, proportionate and just,” Deberry said.

READ DA DEBERRY’S op-ed in the Herald Sun AS SHE SHARES HER THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE