Under the Dome

Attorney general appellate lawyer handles new division

Attorney General Roy Cooper has named the head of his criminal appellate section to run a newly aligned division in his office.

Robert Montgomery, 51, of Raleigh on Monday became senior deputy attorney general for the criminal division. Montgomery replaces Bill Hart, who retired as head of that division last year, and James Coman, who retired as head of the law enforcement and prosecutions division last year.

Montgomery’s new job combines those two divisions, with a staff of 60 attorneys. The division handles criminal appeals in state and federal court, gives legal advice and assistance to law enforcement agencies and prisons, and prosecutes criminal cases when local district attorneys request it.

Montgomery joined the office in 1999. Most recently, he has handled the state’s case against Michael Peterson, the Durham author convicted of killing his wife in 2003. The state Supreme Court in January rejected the state’s request to review an appeals court decision ordering a new trial for Peterson.

Montgomery is a native of Charlotte.