"Walking papers withheld" - The News & Observer (August 19, 1994)
So, you thought the initials D.A. stood for district attorney?.They do, but until a couple of days ago, they could just as easily have stood for "didn't ask" -- as in Durham inmates against whom charges had been dropped staying in jail because they didn't ask..
That, amazingly, was the reason Durham D.A. Jim Hardin gave for not notifying defense attorneys that charges were no longer pending against their clients and that they were free to go. As a result of Hardin's refusal -- and the refusal of D.A.s in other parts of the state -- to extend this seemingly common courtesy, some unfortunate souls are left languishing behind bars for several weeks after they should have been set free. Often their only "crime" was an inability to post bail..Hardin saw the light -- and then, only dimly -- after a complaint was lodged by attorney Ann Loflin, who discovered that her client, Tyrone Edwards, remained locked up five weeks after charges against him had been dropped. Hardin subsequently instructed his staff to inform defense attorneys and the clerk of court in writing when charges have been dismissed..
But he did so with the petulance of a little boy being forced to eat his brussels sprouts. Still maintaining that his office has no legal responsibility to notify people when charges have been dropped -- in other words, to let them know they're free to go -- Hardin downplays the ethical responsibility. His reluctance sounds like nothing more than sour grapes from a prosecutor who cynically wants to reap a measure of revenge despite, or maybe because of, his inability to secure a conviction.