Mecklenburg Sheriff not enforcing evictions, some sheriffs are during COVID-19 outbreak

Updated: Mar. 20, 2020 at 2:50 PM EDT
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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden says he will no longer enforce the remaining eviction orders his office has until April 17.

In a statement, the sheriff said he’s allowed to delay executing them under new guidelines issued by North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.

A WBTV Investigation asked why that order came from the courts Thursday after people have been evicted across the greater Charlotte area.

“I was under the belief that something like this wouldn’t happen in the middle of a pandemic,” Catawba County resident Carla Smith said.

Carla Smith was evicted from her home on Thursday.

She says she fell behind on rent while waiting for payments from social security and disability.

Her timing couldn't be worse.

On March 13, Chief Justice Beasley put a halt on most court proceedings, including eviction proceedings.

Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger told WBTV that doesn't impact eviction orders that were already issued by the courts.

“There were already executions in the pipeline,” Cloninger said. “There’s no way for me to ignore my obligation to uphold the law and to serve them.”

In a statement released March 17, the NC Judicial Branch said the Chief Justice couldn’t issue a blanket order to stop the eviction process.

However, on Thursday, Chief Justice Beasley issued a new order stating that filings due March 16 could be postponed until April 17.

On Friday, Mecklenburg County Sheriff McFadden announced that the court’s new order gave him the authority to delay executing evictions until April 17th.

Not every Sheriff is following suit.

Iredell County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to WBTV that evictions will still be executed while Union County Sheriff’s Office said they will stop serving them.

Across the greater Charlotte area, there are more than 125 eviction orders in the pipeline but with the vast majority in Mecklenburg County, most of them won’t be served.

Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, where Carla Smith lives, said they were aware of the Chief Justice's order and "We will utilize that discretion to best serve the interests of all parties relating to our one remaining writ."

Carla Smith was evicted on the day the order was issued by Chief Justice Beasley.

“I slept in my SUV with my dogs and cat and parrot,” Smith said

WBTV reached out to the NC Judicial Branch to ask why the order came Thursday.

While a spokesperson responded to the email she did not answer any of WBTV’s questions.

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