Lawyer H. Woody Vann says there is a class of defendants in Durham County - doctors, lawyers and police officers - who are given special treatment in court when it comes to traffic tickets. Nowhere would that reality - which Vann describes as "a fact of life" - fit with the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Vann happens to be a longtime friend and former campaign treasurer of Durham District Attorney Jim Hardin.
"If I can't get my own employee relief from a traffic ticket," Vann told The N&O's John Sullivan, "what can the general public expect from me? It happens with doctors and police officers and it's just a fact of life." That is a troubling assertion - especially in light of other recent disclosures in Durham of apparent favoritism, back-hallway deal-cutting and missing court records, all involving Hardin or close associates.
By now the public ought to be squirming over the health of Durham's justice system. But residents can only wait for the results of several investigations, involving agencies from the State Bureau of Investigation to the state Judicial Standards Commission.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
"Durham's courthouse favors" - News & Observer (October 21, 1999)