Defendants sit and wait in Robeson County

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Associated Press. “Defendants sit and wait in Robeson County.” Greensboro News Record (Greensboro, NC). April 1, 1999


While district attorney Johnson Britt pointed out the flaw that trials have too long of a wait before he was awarded the position, Britt has done nothing to improve the situation during his tenure.

Henry Spivey Jr. has spent five years in Robeson County Jail waiting for his murder trial to begin, while many others have spent between three and four years. Spivey has sent two requests for a speedy trial and has not received a response either time.

One of the main issues that leads to this problem is the fact that the county has such a small population but a high murder rate. Every felony case, murder or not, has to be tried in one of two courtrooms by one of two judges in the county. When Britt took office, he had a backlog of 73 murder cases. It just so happened that Spivey was the last one.

Judges have also limited the number of cases put on the calendar, and both of the court reporters in Robeson County took leave at the same time. Spivey’s trial is scheduled to start in April of 1999. 

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