Hardin named chief trial judge of Army Reserve
Durham County Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin has been appointed chief trial judge of the U.S. Army Reserve, officials announced Friday.
The appointment was made by Lt. Gen. Flora Darpino, judge advocate for the Army.
Hardin's new job was effective May 1.
"This in my view is one of the best jobs in the Army," Hardin said. "I'm thrilled to be doing it."
In this position, Hardin, who is from Durham, also assumes command of the 150th Legal Operations Detachment, a unit composed of 23 military judges who serve at Army installations throughout the United States and around the world.
Hardin's appointment follows numerous leadership roles in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, most recently serving for the past three years as a senior military judge for the 2nd Circuit, which includes Fort Bragg and other installations.
Hardin said his military duties won't interfere with his job as Superior Court judge.
"We get military leave," Hardin said. "I've dealt with this for the last 26 years as an assistant D.A., the D.A. and as a Superior Court judge. You call Raleigh to let them know you need military leave, and they've been very, very accommodating."
Hardin said he applied for the chief trial judgeship four years ago, "and am just fortunate to have gotten it."
He said his duties will take him across the United States, but probably not overseas.
Military judges preside over general and special courts-martial matters and have many of the powers of federal judges. They instruct court-martial panels on the law and apply the military rules of evidence, patterned closely after the federal rules of evidence.
Like federal judges, military judges can issue search and seizure authorizations based on probable cause and review the need for pretrial confinement.
In an interview Friday, Hardin said he wanted to have a courtroom career as early as junior high school.
"I love this job, and I feel like I've spent essentially my entire career in the courtroom," he said. "Being a judge is basically an amalgam of all the skills that you develop over a career. It's a wonderful way for me to use them."