Skip to main content


About the Honorable James E. “Jim” Hardin, Jr.

Judge Jim Hardin was born and educated in Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from Northern High School in 1975, from Duke University in 1979, from Mercer University Law School, in 1983 and obtained an LL.M. in Judicial Studies from the Duke University Law School in 2014. Returning to Durham after law school, he engaged in the general practice of law, concentrating in criminal trial defense and real estate law. In 1985 he joined the Durham District Attorney’s Office and served in a variety of positions within the office. In 1989 he was chosen as 1 of 2 Special Prosecutors designated to initiate investigative grand juries against drug trafficking organizations around the State.

After being elected District Attorney for Durham in 1994, Mr. Hardin worked with numerous agencies and individuals to bring innovative specialty courts to Durham including: Teen Court, Drug Treatment Court, Community Life Court, and Domestic Violence Court. To make the courts more efficiently function, he collaborated with Judicial District leaders to create the felony case management system for Durham, a system that was ultimately adopted as the model for our state. In 2005 Judge Hardin was appointed as a Special Superior Court Judge in 2005 where he began presiding over cases in the 60 counties of our state where he has held court.

On June 20, 2007, the Governor of North Carolina requested that Judge Hardin temporarily assume the duties and responsibilities as the Interim District Attorney for the Fourteenth Prosecutorial District of North Carolina to replace the disbarred Elected District Attorney of this jurisdiction. In response to this request, Judge Hardin agreed to resign his commission as a Special Superior Court Judge in order to serve our community in this sensitive and significant position during a very difficult time. Following the selection of a permanent replacement for the District Attorney, Judge Hardin was re-appointed to his position as a Special Superior Court Judge. Subsequently, Judge Hardin was appointed as a Resident Superior Court Judge by our Governor on September 22, 2009. He was elected by the citizens of Durham County to continue serving in this position in November of 2010.

Known as a true “trial lawyer’s judge” Jim Hardin has acted as the lead prosecutor or presiding judge in some of the toughest and most complex cases handled in North Carolina Courts, while doing so he has participated in more than 300 jury trials. Some of the most prominent cases he tried as lead prosecutor are: State v. Michael Ivor Peterson, State v. Timothy Earl Blackwell, State v. Earnest O. King, and State v. Todd Boggess.   Of the dozen drug trafficking grand jury investigations Jim Hardin was involved with around the state, the most complex of these investigations was the case initiated in Durham County involving local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies which rounded up 50-plus drug dealers. Additionally, some of the most significant jury trials Judge Hardin has presided over are: State v. Laurence Lovett, State v. Joan Shannon, and State v. Rodney Enoch.

Among his numerous civilian awards, Judge Hardin was selected as a Lawyers Weekly USA Top Ten Lawyer of the Year in 2003, as one of the N.C. Jaycees Five Outstanding Young North Carolinians of 1996, and honored with the Durham Jaycees Distinguished Service Award of 1996.

Judge Jim Hardin has also served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve, being commissioned in 1988 as a Judge Advocate. Since commissioning, Judge Hardin has served in numerous positions of significant responsibility with multiple major commands of the U.S. Army and Army Reserve including a mobilization with XVIII Airborne Corps during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, a deployment with Third Army, U.S. Central Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and as a Military Judge for six years, with his career culminating as the Chief Trial Judge of the U.S. Army Reserve. After having served for nearly twenty-nine years, Judge Hardin retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Colonel. Among his numerous military awards are the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with Star Device, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Basic Parachutist Badge.

See Judge Jim’s resume.

Judge Hardin has been married 36 years to Lori Thomas Hardin; they have 3 adult children.