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Judge Elaine Bushfan Doesn't Want to Hear Criminal Cases In Alamance County Because The DA Is Too "Harsh"

10:52 PM, Aug 26, 2013   |    comments
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Graham, NC --  A judge said the Alamance County District Attorney's office is being too tough on criminals.

According to the Burlington Times News, the judge reversed five sentences and announced that she won't hear any more criminal cases in Alamance County.

As reported by the Times-News, Elaine O'Neal Bushfan said the DA's office is not using resources to rehabilitate criminals and they're relying too much on the prison system.

Then, she reversed five cases including plea deals for habitual felons, a sexual battery case, and another case involving a man selling drugs near a school. These were plea deals Bushfan originally signed off on. But on Friday, she struck down those plea deals and said she's not coming back.

"The judge decided apparently that she wanted no more of Alamance County and I can on one hand appreciate that because she is not required to do something that violated her conscience," said Locke Clifford, a defense attorney in Guilford County.

Clifford said the judge has to be a referee in the courtroom. Maybe Judge Bushfan does not believe that more prison time is the answer, but it's her job to mediate the court room and come up with plea deals that will work.

Clifford said, "She should not run away from this controversy. She should as they say take the bull by the horn."

Alamance County District Attorney, Pat Nadolski sent WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford this statement in response:

"North Carolina law and ethical rules prohibit me from responding about the specific cases Judge Bushfan ruled on and her comments about my office."

"Generally speaking, the goal of the Alamance County District Attorney's Office is to stand up for victims and hold criminals accountable. We focus on habitual felons, drug dealers, people who break into other people's homes, violent criminals and cases where children are victims. My office aggressively prosecutes those cases."

Justin Furr, a spokesperson with the North Carolina Court System said that Judge Bushfan's request to be removed from hearing criminal court cases in Alamance County is rare. Other judges have been assigned the criminal sessions.

Judge Bushfan is based in Durham County. News 2 was unable to reach her for comment.

WFMY News 2, Burlington Times-News

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