Spencer Merriweather III is the Mecklenburg County District Attorney, leading an office of over 200 attorneys and staff who prosecute state felonies and misdemeanor charges. He served as an Assistant District Attorney in the felony division in Mecklenburg County for more than a decade. He previously led the District Attorney’s Office’s Habitual Felon Prosecution Team and has prosecuted a variety of crimes ranging from homicide, robbery and sexual assault. He has been an active member of the Mecklenburg County Bar is the incoming director of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation Board. He earned a B.A. in Politics with certificates in American and African American studies from Princeton University and J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
This episode is perfect for anyone interested in criminal justice reform, the emotional burdens of prosecuting crimes, serving as the voice of victims, and finding solace in faith.
IN THIS EPISODE
- Spencer shares what he has learned as Mecklenburg County District Attorney (D.A.) in his first five months on the job.
- He talks about the administrative initiative that is most important to him.
- He answers whether he is a good D.A. and what makes him good.
- He explains what he means by the phrase ’21st century prosecutor.’
- Spencer addresses what he thinks is the underlying causes of crime.
- He considers whether there are people who are just bad.
- He reveals what he takes pleasure in as a prosecutor, what guides the charging of a crime, and his position on the decriminalization of marijuana.
- He discusses bias in prosecutorial discretion.
- Spencer shares what he tries to put at the center of all of his decisions.
- He answers whether he has ever regretted prosecuting someone and how he feels when someone he has prosecuted is found guilty and sentenced.
- He describes a moment when he thought the job would break him.
- He discusses how he hopes to impact mass incarceration and the criminal justice system.
- Spencer talks about the ‘Spencer Merriweathers’ who came before him, growing up in Mobile, Alabama, attending Catholic school from K-8, and how his friends would have described him in high school.
- He reflects on his time as student body president at Princeton University, being a Congressional Aide during 9/11 and what drew him to the D.A.’s office in Charlotte.
- He answers whether he has been managing his resume to run for public office and whether he has ever marched for civil rights or protested in the streets.
- He discusses his role reviewing the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
- Spencer shares how his faith informs his work and what he wants his life to be about.
Mark Peres adds a personal word that begins this way, “Spencer Merriweather challenged my view of prosecutors. His outward manner was humble and compassionate. He self-examined and thoughtfully engaged. He talked about systems and structures…”