Durham County

Durham DA candidate updating website after plagiarism concerns

Satana Deberry
Satana Deberry

A candidate for Durham County district attorney is updating her campaign website following accusations of plagiarism.

"In pulling together my website, I borrowed heavily from the platform of Larry Krasner in Philadelphia," Satana Deberry wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. "I have publicly acknowledged Krasner's influence on my platform whenever I speak about reform of the criminal justice system in Durham."

Krasner was elected as Philadelphia district attorney in November

Deberry, executive director of the N.C. Housing Coalition, is challenging incumbent District Attorney Roger Echols in the May 8 Democratic primary. Durham attorney Daniel Meier is also running.

Deberry's Facebook post followed a blog entry by Durham attorney Jonathan Jones. The blog post pointed out some of the similarities between the wording on Deberry's and Krasner's website.

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Jones, who used to work in the Durham County District Attorney's Office for Echols, wrote he wasn't surprised that someone vying for chief prosecutor in a progressive city would adopt some pieces of Krasner's platform, which calls for major reform of the criminal justice system.

"But there’s a difference between building on borrowed ideas and taking language word-for-word," he wrote. "The latter is plagiarism."

Deberry said in an interview that she read Jones' blog, and she thought he had a point.

"We are going to change the website to make sure that the attribution is clear," Deberry said. "I apologize — and I encourage anybody that has any concerns to reach out to me and talk to me about them."

Over the course of Deberry's campaign, she has acknowledged Krasner's influence on her campaign, she said, and she thinks his practices would work in Durham and make its residents safer.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges
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