On January 5, 2024, Reuters reported that U.S. District Judge William Young raised doubts about whether former public defender Caryn Strickland adequately demonstrated the mishandling of her workplace misconduct complaint. The trial, which began on December 11, concluded in federal court in Asheville, North Carolina.
Strickland, representing herself, claimed “quid pro quo sexual harassment” by a supervisor. Judge Young acknowledged an internal investigation supported her claims but questioned her assertion that officials mishandled her complaint by not disqualifying Anthony Martinez, the then-top federal prosecutor. Strickland argued Martinez was biased, but Young questioned the pernicious role he played, given he lacked formal authority to decide her case.
Strickland’s lawsuit, filed in 2020, alleged violations of her constitutional equal protection and due process rights. The complaint concerned J.P. Davis, her direct supervisor, who she accused of “quid pro quo” behavior in a 2018 email. Davis denies wrongdoing, and the defense argues the conduct was neither sexual nor romantic.
Strickland, who testified to Congress in 2022, seeks at least $692,881 for lost earnings. The judge pledged to work on a ruling promptly.