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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A former Wake District Court judge has pleaded guilty to mishandling drunken driving cases.

Former Judge Kristin Ruth on Monday pleaded guilty to failing to discharge the duties of her office in the handling of 69 DWI cases over the past four years.

Ruth stepped down in May after 13 years on the bench.

The 55-year-old former judge said she had signed dozens of orders that she had not fully read for defense attorney James Crouch or his paralegal, Elizabeth Daniel. Those judgments allowed DWI defendants to avoid license suspensions or the full repercussions of a conviction.

The misdemeanor Ruth pleaded guilty to carries a maximum penalty of 120 days in jail, but she will not serve any time if she continues to cooperate with investigators.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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