Jeff Cruden, one of the three assistant district attorneys running as a Republican for DA, describes his extensive experience in an interview with attorney Hart Miles. Born and raised in Raleigh (Broughton High School, born in the old Rex Hospital), Cruden spent 7 years in the Navy. He got his undergraduate degree in Norfolk, graduated from Campbell, and interned at the Wake County District Attorney’s for three years in law school.
When he graduated from law school, there were no openings at the Wake County District Attorney’s office, so he sent his resume to DA offices around the state. He was hired in the First Judicial District, in Elizabeth City. He served there for three years, and then moved back to Raleigh to work for Colon Willoughby.
Cruden has done the bulk of the felony death by motor vehicle cases in Wake County, prosecuting Dr. Raymond Cook in the death of Elena Shapiro.
Cruden has a great message: “I live here. I work here. I raise my children here. I think we should be able to get in our car at night and go to a movie without being killed by a drunk driver.”
What are the new challenges?
Cruden focuses on the complexity of running an office that is more than three times the size of the office that Willoughby inherited in 1986. “A lot of things changed since you and I grew up… It’s a different world since we first started. It’s more complex; it’s difficult… I think the DA should have that experience.”
Cruden says something important: “We don’t want they have in Durham… Their office is always in turmoil.”