::Hardin Named To Replace Nifong As DA
From Raleigh Chronicle Staff & Wire Reports
Friday June 22, 2007
DURHAM - North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin, at the request of Governor Mike Easley, has filled the vacancy created by the resignation and suspension of embattled Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong.
Nifong was disbarred last Saturday by the NC State Bar after prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke lacrosse trial. Hardin took office yesterday in a ceremony in the Durham County courthouse.
Hardin served as Durham County District Attorney for 11 years, until 2005. He gained fame during the well-publicized murder trial of Michael Peterson, the Vietnam veteran and author, who killed his wife Kathleen Peterson in their home in Durham.
The widely reported case gained Hardin fame as he fought Peterson's expensive defense attorneys as Hardin brought up a death eerily similar to Peterson's wife in his past.
Governor Easley asked Hardin to serve as district attorney while the governor conducts a search for a full-time replacement to serve the remainder of the term ending in 2008.
According to the Governor's Office, Hardin is expected to be in the district attorney's office for at least two months.
"Judge Hardin has a great reputation for high ethics and integrity," said Easley in a released statement. "He was one of the state's finest district attorneys when he served in this capacity in the past. I believe he is the right person now to go in and restore the public's confidence in the office. This is a real sacrifice on Judge Hardin's part and we are all grateful for his service."
Easley also contacted Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby and asked the State Conference of District Attorneys to assist Hardin as he steps in and remedies any problems that exist.
"Jim Hardin has a great record of service to this state, this country, and he gets things done," said Willoughby, past president of the state conference. "He has run the office well in the past and handled high profile cases. Jim has the unique background and talent to get this office back on the right course."
The appointment is effective immediately. After Hardin completes his assignment, Easley said that he expects to return Hardin to his seat on the Superior Court bench.
In 2005, Easley named Hardin a Special Superior Court Judge. He spent nearly 20 years working in Durham in the district attorney's office.
In addition to working in the state courts, Hardin currently serves as staff judge advocate for the 81st Regional Readiness Command of the U.S. Army Reserve and was recently selected for promotion to colonel.
From January through June 2006, Hardin served with U.S. Army Central Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom, in Kuwait and Qatar.
Hardin received his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1979 and his law degree from Mercer University in 1983. ::