Governor Appoints Wilmington Attorney to Crime Commission

A Wilmington defense attorney is among the newest names on a state body that serves to advise the governor on criminal justice matters.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced James B. Blanton's appointment to the Governor's Crime Commission on Tuesday.

Blanton, touted by the governor's office as having "extensive litigation experience in the North Carolina and federal criminal justice system," is currently practicing criminal defense and civil litigation at the Woody White Law PLLC law firm in Wilmington.

Half of that firm's namesake is Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

Prior to his time there, Blanton worked as a judge advocate for the U.S. Marine Corps and was appointed as a special assistant U.S. attorney to prosecute crimes in the Eastern District of North Carolina, according to the governor's press release.

Blanton's was one of 10 appointments announced Tuesday for the Governor's Crime Commission, a 44-member body that serves to inform the governor about criminal justice issues and recommend improvements to the system. Blanton will occupy a seat reserved for a defense attorney.

The Wilmington native and New Hanover High School graduate received his law degree from UNC Chapel Hill in 2003 after undergrad studies there and at UNCW, according to a bio his law office provided. It added he's also an awarded Marine Corps veteran who has held the rank of captain on active duty.

Among other appointees to the commission Tuesday were Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger, Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes, and Chris Swecker, a Mecklenburg County-based attorney and former assistant director for criminal investigations at the FBI. Swecker will serve as the board's chairman.