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Durham magistrate suspended

Posted April 28, 2011

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— A Durham County magistrate facing a complaint over his handling of a school stabbing case was suspended with pay Thursday.

According to court documents, Magistrate Sam Biers is accused of falsifying his date of birth on his employment application to conceal a criminal record. Sources said he was convicted of felony breaking and entering in Michigan.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson is expected to hold a hearing on the matter within 30 days.

The mother of a Northern High School student who was stabbed last month recently filed a complaint against Biers and demanded that he be removed from office.

Kenya Newell said her son was still undergoing emergency surgery while the student charged in the case was released on the $5,000 bond Biers set in the case.

Eric Tyrone Prince Jr., 16, of 625 Martin St., is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and having a weapon on school grounds.

Newell said Prince admitted to investigators that he had brought a knife to school for the sole purpose of stabbing her son and should have been held on a higher bond. She also complained that Biers didn't seem to take her concerns seriously.

Biers on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing, maintaining that he never even spoke with Newell. Biers also denied having a criminal record.

Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey, who oversees magistrates in Durham, told WRAL News previously that the charges Prince faced usually result in a bond of at least $30,000, but the amount of any bond is up to the discretion of a magistrate.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • technetium9 Apr 29, 2011

    mpheels your legal definition of bail is correct. to ensure the defendant shows up for trial. but bail is used as a punishment every single day, the reality is the bail bond industry extorts 15% from most charged people. bail is the lubricant of the justice system

  • Bob3425 Apr 29, 2011

    suspended with pay Thursday = Free vacation. If he lied he should be fired, no questioned ask and no free vacations.

  • westernwake1 Apr 29, 2011

    @anonemoose "So why did his lying on his app only become an issue now? Shouldn't they have done a background check then instead of now?"

    This fact was probably known for years within the Durham office but kept quiet. Why is it an issue now? Because it was clear that this case was going to lead to someone hiring an attorney to sue or the state performing an investigation. It would take an investigating attorney about 24 hours after the discovery records are turned over to figure out Biers had lied on his job application and had a felony conviction -- and therefore not qualified to hold the magistrate position.

    This is just an example of the court system "getting ahead of the problem".

  • mpheels Apr 29, 2011

    technetium9 - the purpose of bail is to keep people from fleeing the jurisdiction before their trial. Bail is not a punishment, and should not be used as one.

  • westernwake1 Apr 29, 2011

    Long overdue. It is time that someone brought out the activities of this scroundrel who has abused justice for Durham crime victims over many years. It seems strange that he is suspended for lying on his application rather than for his absolute failure in his job. The thought that a court magistrate has a felony record and spent years siding with criminals over victims is obscene. Now maybe this can be the start of cleaning up the rest of the criminal justice system in Durham --- which can only be described as a huge failure and national laughing-stock (e.g. Nifong)

  • anonemoose Apr 29, 2011

    So why did his lying on his app only become an issue now? Shouldn't they have done a background check then instead of now?

  • DurhamDevil Apr 29, 2011

    Hey, cwood-

    Remember that criminals live everywhere - even where you live.

    I certainly do not condone criminal behavior. But generalizing Durham and its residents is not very intelligent on your part.

    Take your business elsewhere if you do not like it here.

  • cwood3 Apr 29, 2011

    Hey technetium, remember-this is Durham we're taking about. Wierd stuff goes on in government in Durham Co. and City.

    Try doing business over there....

  • dcblackburn1963 Apr 29, 2011

    nighthunter....READ the article....he WAS convicted of a felony!

  • technetium9 Apr 29, 2011

    Really, 5k bail for a violent criminal. Mr Biers should be the one in jail.
    The whole point of bail is to keep the city safe from violent preditors, if you cant understand that then your judgement is questionable,and maybe a career in parking inforcement might be more appropriate.