New Details: Judge Refuses to Hear Cases in Alamance County

5:32 PM, Sep 3, 2013   |    comments
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  • Judge: Alamance DA Too "Harsh" On Criminals
  • Alamance County, N.C. - If you don't like or agree with part of your job, you typically have to find another job, or just do what you are told. However, that's not necessarily the case if you're a judge.

    Superior Court Judge Elaine Bushfan announced she is refusing to hear any more criminal cases in Alamance County. In addition, she reversed the sentences in the five cases she ruled on.

    According to a transcript obtained by the Burlington Times-News, Judge Bushfan is upset about the way Alamance County prosecutors handle cases. Bushfan said, "It says something about the harshness of a county if people can walk into a courtroom... having never gone to jail before, ready to make restitution and they walk out a convicted felon."

    Judge Bushfan told the courtroom Alamance County prosecutors are being too hard on criminals and are just throwing people in prison instead of trying to rehabilitate them.

    The five cases Judge Bushfan reversed will go back to square one now. Another judge will hear the cases at the end of this month.

    The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts says Judge Bushfan can decide not to hear cases in Alamance County. It's rare and unusual, but she can do it.

    Judge Bushfan was elected in 1994. She is from Durham County and is based out of the Durham area. Over her nearly twenty years on the bench, she has almost doubled her salary and now earns about $144,000 a year.

    When she started reversing her rulings, one District Attorney objected. According to the transcript, Judge Bushfan said, "One shouldn't be so emotional and be mad for me doing my job. Tell your DA, she should not come back here with that attitude, or she might find herself in trouble. She needs to stay out of here."

    WFMY News 2 also came across a brief YouTube video narrated by Judge Bushfan. She talks about growing up in Durham and her family. She said she believes her role as a judge is, " bridge the communication that is lacking between the two classes, the two races."

    Later, Bushfan says, "A son from my first marriage is incarcerated for life, as a matter of fact, so they say. We're in the appeals process. So, I worry about my kid and other people's kids. I worry about those who choose to pick up a gun. I want to help those who are less fortunate than I am."

    WFMY News 2 has tried to get in contact with Judge Bushfan for the past week. However, we have been unable to reach her.
    The Alamance County District Attorney's office said North Carolina law prevents it from responding Judge Bushfan's allegations.

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