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Suspended Durham magistrate resigns

Posted May 24, 2011

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— A Durham County magistrate suspended after being accused of trying to hide a criminal history resigned Tuesday.

Magistrate Sam Biers was suspended last month after the Durham County Sheriff's Office accused him of providing a false date of birth on his employment records to hide a criminal history.

Biers maintained in his resignation letter that a courthouse employee entered the wrong birth date in his employment files.

"As a result of the scurrilous and false complaints against me, I am forced to resign as a State of North Carolina and Durham County magistrate and freely state that I will never apply for a North Carolina magistrate position again," Biers wrote in the letter.

According to jail records from Manistee County, Michigan, Biers was charged in 1985 with three counts of breaking and entering and two counts of unlawfully driving away an automobile, or car theft.

While awaiting trial, he went to Nevada, where his mother was living, and Michigan authorities filed a fugitive warrant for his return. Jail records show he later pleaded guilty to one count of breaking and entering and was sentenced to six months in jail and three years on probation.

A few months after Biers was released in May 1986, a judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest, accusing him of violating the terms of his probation. Jail and law enforcement records show Biers was taken into custody in 2002 for a probation violation tied to the mid-1980s case.

"The allegation that I intentionally deceived the hiring authority is ludicrous and patently false since legally I have no criminal history," Biers wrote in his resignation letter. "It was all expunged and sealed."

He said his past came to light only after he filed a complaint against others in the Durham County Courthouse.

In addition to the complaint filed against Biers by the Durham County Sheriff's Office, the mother of a student stabbed at Northern High School in March filed a complaint against him.

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.

Newell said investigators told her that Eric Tyrone Prince Jr. admitted 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 when she questioned the bond.

Her complaint also alleged that Biers had a criminal history.

Biers said in his resignation letter that he never spoke to Newell and that another magistrate handled her call.

His resignation comes two days before a court hearing was scheduled on petitions seeking his removal as magistrate.

7 Comments

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  • gunny462 May 25, 2011

    "guy did something as a teenager"

    Born in 1967 and the crimes happened in 1985? Violated parole twice?

  • untiltheyallhaveahome May 25, 2011

    We are always hearing about crime in Durham and we wonder why???? Those that defend Durham's high crime, what do you have to say for yourselves now? A magistrate that has been convicted of any crime will have pitty for those that come before him as he was there himself. And we have wondered for a while now why bonds (in all counties) are so low in regards to the crime? Now we know. Criminals are setting crimials' bonds!

  • Enigma May 25, 2011

    Oh my god this guy did something as a teenager and had it sealed and expunged so he could be treated like a normal person in society. Because we in society forgive people of their past right? Wrong! that's why there is a process for sealing and expunging so they can possible get a decent paying job and not be subjected to the slings and arrows. Also those are two diffrent processes mind you. So Davidbh61255 it's soo nice to see you be fair minded. And Westernwake1 Durham did not hire him. He was appointed by a Superior Court Judge as Magistrates are Judges and he served the peope of Durham. Also ask your self the question ever wonder why a Magistrate who had only been in office for a couple of months would get jammed up like that? Oh that's right he reported some of the judges to the judicial standards commision for improper actions. Sounds lie payback to me especially when they only do records checks on magistrates in state but for him they made an exception? I smell there is more

  • debbiebarbour55 May 25, 2011

    Then how do you classify three counts of B&E, 2 counts of car theft, spending 6 months in jail and three years probation? How is that being Not Guilty?????

  • debbiebarbour55 May 25, 2011

    How can his record be expunged and sealed when he was convicted of the crime? If this is the case, then other people could have their records expunged and sealed even though they were convicted??? Law states if you are convicted your record can only be expunged by the Governor??? Someone correct me if this is not true????Seems fishy to me....

  • davidbh61255 May 25, 2011

    I am not guilty because it was expunged and sealed!!

  • westernwake1 May 24, 2011

    Good. It was absurd that Durham hired him as a magistrate.