Local News

Former Durham magistrate officially out of job

Posted May 26, 2011 2:57 p.m. EDT
Updated May 26, 2011 6:55 p.m. EDT

— Two complaints against a former Durham County magistrate were dropped Thursday, and he agreed not to seek another magistrate position in North Carolina.

Magistrate Sam Biers submitted a letter of resignation on Tuesday, saying that he had to step down because of "scurrilous and false complaints."

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. He accused a clerk of getting his birth date wrong and denied having a criminal record.

Through a Michigan Freedom of Information Act request, WRAL News discovered Biers pleaded guilty to breaking and entering in that state in 1985 and served time in jail.

"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."

During a court hearing Thursday, Assistant Durham County Attorney Marie Inserra said the county had evidence that Biers also had been convicted of a crime in Nevada and that that crime had never been expunged.

Defense attorney Patrice Walker asserted that Biers had been pardoned in Nevada and that his records were supposed to have been sealed.

The court hearing was to consider two petitions seeking that Biers be removed as magistrate. In addition to the complaint from the sheriff's office, the mother of a student stabbed at Northern High School in March filed a complaint against Biers.

Kenya Newell said Biers didn't take her concerns seriously when she questioned the low bond he set for the student accused of attacking her son.

Newell withdrew her complaint and the county didn't oppose a motion to dismiss the complaint by the sheriff's office after Biers submitted a new resignation letter and promised not to apply for another magistrate position. The new letter didn't include the accusations against Durham County court officials or proclamations of innocence that were in his original letter.