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Longtime Durham ADA off the job

Posted December 20, 2010

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— A longtime assistant prosecutor in Durham County has been dismissed from his post.

District Attorney Tracey Cline said Monday that Mitchell Garrell is no longer working in the office and that his appointment as assistant district attorney would not be renewed in January.

She declined to comment on why, and Garrell could not be reached Monday.

Garrell prosecuted violent crimes and homicides in Durham for the past 15 years. In 2008, he ran against Cline, a sex crimes prosecutor in Durham, and two others for the district attorney position.

Most recently, Garrell was assigned to prosecute Derrick Michael Allen, who was convicted in the 1998 death and sexual assault of a 2-year-old girl who died of shaken baby syndrome.

Allen’s conviction was among more than 200 being re-examined after an independent audit found State Bureau of Investigation agents failed to report blood evidence in the cases.

A Superior Court judge dismissed Allen’s case earlier this month.

Garrell also prosecuted the high-profile 2005 murder trial of Robert Petrick, who was convicted of killing his wife, Janine Sutphen, and disposing of her body in Falls Lake in Raleigh.

Some who have worked with Garrell said Monday that they were surprised by the news, calling him a good trial lawyer.

“I always found him to be ethical, decent and fair,” said Durham defense attorney Michael Driver, who worked with Garrell for many years. “He was able to disagree without being disagreeable. He was always a strong advocate for the state’s position but did it in a fair way.”


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  • Joe Schmoe Dec 22, 2010

    "The first issue deals with the perceptions of the District Attorney’s Office. It appears that the public has lost the trust that it once had in the prosecutor’s office. There needs to be a restoration of integrity to the Office of District Attorney. ...what is really important is to show the citizens that you are a person to be trusted."

    - Tracy Cline, candidate for DA


    Doublespeak: par for the Liberal course.

  • ttc248 Dec 21, 2010

    I actually expected a higher level of integrity from her. Very disappointed. She will suffer for this in the long run. You cannot mistreat people and get away with it. As unpopular as it is, I believe in the "do unto others" rule.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 20, 2010

    Durham is a fun place.

    You have Peterson, the Duke Lacrosse Players, and Allen getting railroaded by the Durham DA.

  • didisaythat Dec 20, 2010

    Darth Vader,
    Itis scarry that you actually think the people that you are referring to with the Sbi as innocent. Look into what the evidence was that convicted them. I bet it had nothing to do with blood. They ar e not innocent, they are getting away with murder. All because there are more people that want people not held accountable for their actions.

  • venitapeyton Dec 20, 2010

    With this display of arrogance and insecurity one must wonder if any judge will take cases from the Durham DA's office seriously during the next 4 years.

  • RB-1 Dec 20, 2010

    How odd.

  • Keyboard Toughy Dec 20, 2010

    "Good riddance...looks we need a little diversity in the DA's office." - pappy1

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Cline black?

  • dlentz2 Dec 20, 2010

    Sounds like Cline needs to go instead of Garrell.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 20, 2010

    "Man the N&O really puts WRAL to shame in terms of the depth and quality of reporting on this story. - BigUNCFan"

    The big difference is that the N&O is a news source and WRAL is an entertainment source.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 20, 2010

    Good ol' boy politics in Durham.

    Based on this and the other stuff surrounding the Durham DA's office, I still think Peterson got shafted by the Durham DA's office.