Governor Roy Cooper said in the release, “New members will make a real difference by directing resources in ways to help victims, but also by bringing the best ideas that can really get results.”
The goal of the GCC is to help improve law enforcement strategies, find ways to reduce crime rates and improve criminal laws in the state. The GCC also gives federal block grants each year to different agencies in order for them to start new and innovative programs to further the GCC’s mission, and to continue efforts to reduce crime rates in North Carolina.
Tessener believes he brings a unique perspective to the table because he is not a prosecution or defense attorney, like many other attorneys on the committee – although he does have experience working on both sides of the aisle, and he has tried a capital murder case, which very few lawyers have defended. A well-known litigator in North Carolina, he has tried more than 100 cases across the state during the past 30 years, and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
“I think it’s important in today’s sort of divisive world that all of these people from different walks of life and experiences are willing to give their time to try and get things right,” Tessener said about the GCC.
One of Tessener’s goals during his appointment on the GCC is to explore solutions other than incarceration. Tessener has seen various studies proving that mediation between the victim and criminal can help the criminal get started on the right path. He stressed that this would not be a possibility in every case, but only the ones where the accused is very remorseful and the victim is amenable to an alternative solution. He believes it would be interesting and worthwhile to explore other alternative options to incarceration, which can be not only a drain to the American taxpayer, but also an ineffective solution to recidivism.
Tessener noted that the values of the GCC, his personal values and the values of his firm are all aligned. Tessener’s entire career has been based on getting justice for victims, in both civil and criminal court. The goal he has set for himself is to make sure that the victims are heard and those responsible are properly charged, prosecuted and sentenced.
Tessener grew up in Shelby, N.C. and graduated from N.C. State University. After earning his J.D. from Campbell Law School in 1988 he went to work at the largest law firm in N.C. where he focused on representing banks, insurance companies and other large corporations.