Ripley Rand, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama on Friday.
Rand, a Democrat nominated to the post in 2011 by Obama, was the top federal prosecutor for criminal and civil matters in a 24-county district that spans from Durham west to Winston-Salem.
Rand will join a private law firm in Raleigh. The release announcing his decision did not specify which firm Rand will join.
Sandra Hairston, first assistant U.S. attorney for the district, will be the acting head of the office.
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It is typical for U.S. Attorneys to step down shortly before or after a new administration takes over in Washington. Rand was nominated by Obama in 2010 and sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2011.
Rand came to the office after serving eight years as a Wake County Superior Court judge.
One of his more high-profile cases was a ruling he made in 2009, ordering convicted murderers Alford Jones and Faye Brown freed after defense attorneys persuaded him that sentence-reduction credits had shortened their life terms. That ruling sparked an outcry and appeals to the state Supreme Court. The state’s highest court overturned the ruling in a 5-2 decision.
Rand, the son of Tony Rand, a former state senator, also worked as a prosecutor in the Wake County District Attorney’s office.