Local News

Durham Judge's Change Of Address Means District Change

Posted August 27, 2004 6:29 a.m. EDT

— Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson has been on the bench for more than a decade. He serves in Superior Court district 14A. Last month, that district changed shape when the judge decided to change addresses.

When Hudson was thinking about moving, he contacted State Rep. Mickey Michaux to see if the state lawmaker could help him out by having the Legislature adjust his district.

Michaux told WRAL, "I did it because the man asked me to do it. I don't know what the big deal is. It's not unusual for a constituent to ask me to do something. If I can accommodate them, I usually do."

Hudson said he followed all the rules and said, "it's not unusual for the lines to be adjusted. It happens all the time in various arenas."

While it is not unusual to see district lines change due to accommodate the growing population, some argue another reason it is done is political.

"That's the way the process works. It certainly is good old boy politics, but it's not unusual good old boy politics. It's the usual good old boy politics in the sense it's done on a routine basis," said Duke University Professor Kerry Haynie.

Haynie said district lines can change in order to protect incumbents. Officials said it is usually to ensure one candidate is not pitted against another.

"Had there been another judge or another candidate who said, 'I also want to run for this seat,' then you could raise questions about Mickey Michaux's actions," he said.

District 14A was created in 1989 in part to help put an African-American on the bench. A year later, Orlando Hudson was elected superior court judge.