• Questions arise after Hardy trial moved up

    By: Jim Bradley


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Mecklenburg County prosecutors confirmed the domestic violence trial of Carolina Panthers player Greg Hardy has been moved ahead of other cases also waiting to go before a judge.
    The Hardy case received national attention as the NFL deals with issues of domestic violence among players. But moving Hardy's trial to the front of the line is raising questions about whether Hardy is getting special treatment.
    The District Attorney's Office acknowledges that there are roughly 300 other domestic violence appeals pending. 
    Prosecutors defend moving Hardy's case to Feb. 9.
    Issues of "witness availability, attorney availability and judge availability" made it necessary to schedule Hardy's case ahead of others that have also been waiting to go before a judge, prosecutors said.
    Some attorneys believe Hardy is getting a break at the expense of their clients.
    One of his cases is likely to be bumped because of the Hardy trial, attorney Brad Smith said.
    "It's annoying to clients who wait patiently, often times for a long time, only to be sort of 'jumped,' Smith said.
    Older cases don't necessarily go first, assistant district attorney Bart Menser said.
    “We understand why people would disagree with our decision but we think we're being fair", Menser said.
    Charlotte attorney Bill Powers says it's not unusual for lawyers to negotiate earlier court dates. 
    While the District Attorney's Office insists Hardy's celebrity status was not a factor in the decision to move the case up, Powers wonders if the cases' notoriety might have played a part.
    "I can only imagine how many resources they are having to devote to just answering questions from the national media," Powers said.
    In North Carolina, district attorneys have sole discretion for deciding the order in which cases will be tried.

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