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Alumnus Seeks to be First Elected African-American DA in Jefferson County

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Author: Hazel Scott

Release Date: Aug 09, 2018

Alabama State University alumnus Danny Carr is running for District Attorney of Jefferson County, Alabama.

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Attorney Danny Carr, an ASU alumnus (’96), is hoping to make history again in Jefferson County.

With deep roots in Enley, the 47-year-old hopes to become the first elected African-American District Attorney in Jefferson County, Alabama. If it comes to pass, that will be his second historic benchmark.

His first was in 2017. Just before his 45th birthday, Carr emerged as Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney to District Attorney pro tem; a day after newly elected DA Charles Henderson was indicted on a perjury charge and immediately suspended under Alabama law. 

“I served from Jan 15, 2017 to Oct. 20, 2017,” Carr said. “When Henderson was convicted, Gov. Bentley appointed a replacement.”

Carr, who remains with the DA’s office as Chief Deputy DA, said attending ASU helped shape his personal approach to life and the law. 

“I am proud of my academic and social accomplishments at ASU,” Carr said.  “Alabama State University prepared me for success. I knew that athletics was a temporary career, but the lessons I learned from sports are something I will always carry with me.  More importantly, ASU taught me to never give up, to believe in myself and to follow my dreams. My  ASU professors Dr. Ivery and Dr. Bryson and other individuals there, just instilled that belief in me daily and I believed it and obviously it worked out for me.“

Carr attended ASU on a basketball scholarship and majored in criminal justice.

The path Carr has walked has long been influenced by the law. His mother was a probation officer before pursuing a career in education (she is now a retired educator), his godfather was a probation officer and his stepfather is a retired Birmingham police lieutenant.

“I always wanted to be an attorney. You know how they have those media guides for the basketball teams?  I still have a copy of mine. I looked at my profile under career aspirations, and my statement was to have a career in real estate and be an attorney,” Carr said. “I realized both of those dreams. Alabama State allowed me to be on the path to realize those dreams and now I’m doing both of those. Dreams do come true. You just have to surround yourself with the right people and be in the right place, and Alabama State was the right place for me.”

Carr said he realizes that he had the role models making the investment in leveraging their time and resources to help him achieve his goals.

“Growing up in the inner city here in Ensley in Birmingham we had role models and people we looked up to,” Carr said. “I had an uncle who was a band director and he was a band member at Alabama State and I would go to the Magic City Classic all the time with him and I wanted to be a part of that. Seeing him matriculate through college and being on campus with him as a young man and he pledged a fraternity up there and I pledged a fraternity up there. He had a direct influence in my life. It all started with him attending college at Alabama State.”

Carr said just as his role models committed themselves to support him, he has committed himself to justice for the citizens of Jefferson County during his 17 years of service.

“We’ve never had an African-American District Attorney here in Jefferson County in the Birmingham Division and that’s another barrier I’m trying to break down,” Carr said. “Most people who go to law school want to be a defense attorney because they often see that on TV shows, but I took a different route to become a prosecutor or assistant DA. A lot of that had to do with the fact that you could influence policy decisions. You’ve heard it said that if you’re not at the table you’re probably on the menu and I wanted a sit at the table to be able to help to influence criminal justice reform, to help influence transparency in the criminal justice system, to ensure decisions are fair and impartial and the only way you can do that if you are the one making those decisions. I want to be that person.  I know that it is not a typical route for a lot of African-American attorneys, but I want to do something that I thought would be atypical to make changes inside the system instead of the outside.”

Carr captured 78 percent of the votes in the primary election. He faces attorney Mike Anderson (incumbent) in the November election.

Carr is recognized as one of the Top 40 Most Influential Males in Birmingham and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Birmingham. He has received the Community Policing Revitalization and Commitment to Excellence Award and the NAACP’s Outstanding African-American Award in the area of law.

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