"Durham district attorney picks veteran to be his deputy - Nifong fills post vacant for 8 years, aims to speed cases " - Jaleh Hagigh, News & Observer (February 26, 1994)
District Attorney Jim Hardin on Friday chose his most experienced prosecutor to be his chief assistant and to help improve the internal workings of the office.
Naming Mike Nifong as his deputy was Hardin's first step in establishing a more defined chain of command in the district attorney's office, which hasn't had a deputy's slot in eight years.
Hardin said he hopes the move will improve the flow of cases through District and Superior courts, which has been a problem in Durham for several years. Hardin also said he hopes the position will close a leadership vacuum in the courtroom.
As second in command, Nifong will be in charge of deciding which cases will be heard when Hardin is not available or is busy prosecuting a case. That should cut down on the confusion about which cases are going to be called for trial, Nifong said.
Nifong, 43, a prosecutor in Durham for 15 years, also will be in charge of the three-member prosecution team that will target violent offenders and habitual felons.
"It's a very defined chain of command," Hardin said. "I truly believe we will have better morale because of it."
Nifong also will help implement Hardin's plan to rotate all nine prosecutors through Superior and District courts to keep them from getting burned out.
Splitting prosecutors into teams also was an attempt to improve accountability in the office.
Now prosecutors won't have the luxury of just worrying about their own caseload and will have a stake in the entire court system running smoothly, Hardin said. Nifong agreed.