© 2020 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Learn everything you need to know about voting in the upcoming election, including how to vote in person or through the mail as well as local candidates' positions on various issues and why they think you should vote for them.

North Carolina Judges

WFAE asked candidates for Charlotte-area North Carolina judicial races questions about why they should be elected (or reelected). Here are the answers we've received so far from the candidates.

Cheri Beasley
Cheri Beasley

NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Seat 1

CHERI BEASLEY (D)
Why should people vote for you?
Voters should look at a judicial candidate’s record of decisions to inform their vote. In the case of the Chief Justice, voters should consider the candidate’s plan for the judicial branch. The Chief Justice is not simply the justice who sits at the middle of the bench in the Supreme Court—she is the head of the judicial branch for the State of North Carolina, and her policy decisions impact the everyday lives of all North Carolinians.

Where do you stand with North Carolina’s current bail policy?
I would say that the work of improving justice is never done. There will always be more that we can do to ensure that every person is treated fairly and equally in our courtrooms. With this purpose in mind, rethinking the way fines and fees are assessed in the courts so that people are not punished simply for their inability to pay is a must. Also, expanding drug courts and other specialty courts, with a focus on rehabilitation and restoration rather than punishment, so that people can move on from the bad decisions of their past to live a successful and productive future is a must as well.

Paul Newby - Supreme Court Chief Justice
Paul Newby

PAUL NEWBY (R)
Why should people vote for you?
As the Senior Associate Justice of the NC Supreme Court, I’m running for Chief Justice. I‘m the longest-serving justice, having been first elected in 2004, and only current justice elected twice to the Supreme Court. I’ve been a lawyers for more than 40 years and practiced in about every area of the law, and am the Court’s only former prosecutor. In each case I strive to fairly, impartially, and consistently apply the law, faithfully interpreting the Constitution and statutes as intended. I do not legislate from the bench. I have a reputation of being an honest, hard-working, common-sense justice. As a result, I have received widespread, bipartisan support across our State. Recognized for my legal scholarship, I teach law students, judges, and lawyers. I have written a book on the NC Constitution and received the Constitutional Rights Award and Citizen-Lawyer Award. Knowing the importance of civic education, I frequently speak to school and community groups, often about my role in directing the recovery NC’s stolen original copy of the Bill of Rights. As an Eagle Scout, I serve the Boy Scouts and have received the National Distinguished Eagle Award and the Heroism Award for rescuing 9 people from a riptide. Please visit my website at www.paulnewby.com.

Where do you stand with North Carolina’s current bail policy?
The role of judges is to decide each case which comes before the court on the particular facts of the case and the law as applied to those facts. Without commenting on how I might rule in a particular case involving bail, as a philosophical matter, the purposes of bail are to ensure that an individual who is charged with a crime will appear in court and to protect the community if the person is considered a danger to others. The use of bail beyond these purposes should be seriously challenged. Justice delayed is justice denied-it’s imperative that each person have his or her day in court in a timely manner. Individuals should not be languishing in jail because of court delays.

NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 2

PHIL BERGER JR. (R)

Lucy Inman - NC Supreme Court Justice
Lucy Inman

LUCY INMAN (D)
Why should people vote for you?
In 30 years as a lawyer and a judge, I have served people in communities large and small. I am running for the North Carolina Supreme Court to preserve the rule of law, to keep our justice system fair and free from partisan politics and ideology, and to pursue equal justice for all.

Every person in every courtroom deserves to be treated fairly and with respect. That means judges must listen, honestly consider the facts of each case, apply the law equally to everyone, without fear or favor, write consistent decisions in terms the general public can understand, and leave politics at the courthouse door.

In courtrooms across our state and at the Court of Appeals, I have fulfilled these duties. I will bring this same commitment, experience, and skill to the Supreme Court.

Three retired North Carolina Supreme Court chief justices and dozens of retired justices and judges across the state -- both Democrats and Republicans -- have endorsed me as the most qualified candidate in my race. You can find out more at www. lucyinmanforjustice.com. I appreciate your caring about justice and hope to earn your vote.

Where do you stand with North Carolina’s current bail policy?
Bail and bond reform programs are being explored in many states, including North Carolina, to address concerns that many people are incarcerated pre-trial not because they pose a danger to others or are likely to flee, but because they cannot afford to post bail. In general, our criminal justice system could be made more fair by tailoring bail criteria to reduce pre-trial incarceration when doing so will not endanger crime victims or the general public. Most matters of criminal procedure, including the conditions of pretrial incarceration and release, are determined by the legislative branch, not the judicial branch of government.

NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 4

TAMARA BARRINGER (R)
MARK DAVIS (D)

NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 4

TRICIA SHIELDS (D)
APRIL C. WOOD (R)

NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 5

LORA CHRISTINE CUBBAGE (D)
FRED GORE (R)

MECKLENBURG COUNTY

NC Superior Court Judge District 26A Seat 1

CASEY VISER (R)

Alicia D. Brooks - NC Superior Court Judge
Alicia D. Brooks

ALICIA D. BROOKS (D)
Why should people vote for you?
I am the candidate who is committed to serving this community with integrity and to following the rule of law. I have 28 years of legal experience which includes as an assistant district attorney prosecuting homicides, a skilled trial attorney in Superior Court, a judicial hearing officer, and a District court judge. I have been at the forefront of efforts to aid those in active addiction and those with mental illness through my work in treatment court. During my volunteer work with truancy court, I mentored countless youth and families working to provide them tools, access, support, and guidance they needed to thrive and to avoid our youth entering the criminal justice system. I supported stronger efforts to assist returning citizens in expunging their convictions thereby enabling them to reengage in society and to participate more fully in our democracy. My experience and my service in our courts and in our community make me the Superior Choice for Superior Court judge.

Where do you stand with North Carolina’s current bail policy?
North Carolina must continue to improve access to justice for all of its citizens. This includes allowing those without resources the opportunity to be released from jail pending the outcome of their cases and to provide them with adequate representation. Finances should never be a hindrance to obtaining justice but unfortunately in many circumstances, high bonds, excessive fees, and court costs create a barrier for those without the financial means. Many times those with low level charges are held in jail for lengthy stays because they lack the funds to pay in order to be released. Judges must look at alternatives to cash bonds and the least restrictive means to ensure a person's presence in court such as pretrial release, ankle monitors, and unsecured bonds. This is especially true for those charged with misdemeanor offenses. As a Superior Court Judge, I will apply the law and treat everyone fairly, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 1

Kimberly Best - District Court Judge
CapturedbyKevin
Kimberly Y. Best

KIMBERLY Y. BEST (D)
Why should people vote for you?
From the Seat to the street, as a District Court Judge for the past 12 years, I have worked tirelessly to improve outcomes in the courthouse and in the community. I am a certified Juvenile Judge, I have presided over DSS cases and juvenile criminal matters, criminal matters, Evictions, Civil matters, Custody, Child Support, domestic violence and equitable distribution matters. I believe in putting actions behind my words. I understand that Justice is not One Size fits all and that each person who appears before me has a unique history and deserves to be heard and relief granted specific to their standing. I am humbled to have served. I also am a member of Reeder Memorial Baptist Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and have participated and volunteered for Truancy Court, Race Matters for Juvenile Justice, Lead Civil Court Judge, Chair of Juvenile Justice Subcommittee, served on the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and numerous other community service oriented events and organizations. I humbly ask for you vote and continued support.

Where do you stand with North Carolina’s current bail policy?
The current state of NC bail law is different than policies we have implemented in Mecklenburg County. We have been proactive in assessing our compliance with the law as written in NC. Release is presumed unless it can be shown that the offender is a flight risk or presents a danger to the community. Thus, I have justly and fairly applied this standard based on facts presented to me. Defendants who are incarcerated are not to be detained because they suffer from a substance use disorder, mental illness or a lack of financial resources. Our current bail policy, structured with the assistance of Harvard University, provides an matrix for Judges to truly assess risk level of flight and safety to the community. I have complied with this new policy and believe it offers a fair assessment of defendants who appear before me.

PAT FINN (R)

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 2

Aretha Blake - District Court Judge
Aretha Blake

ARETHA BLAKE (D)
Why should people vote for you?
My judicial experience and leadership, diverse legal experience, stellar academic credentials, proven commitment to service, and professionalism uniquely qualify me to be re-elected to the District Court. I have presided over thousands of cases and have been thoughtful in my decision-making and knowledgeable in the application of the law. I have presided over matters related to juvenile delinquency, juvenile abuse, neglect and dependency, child custody and support, civil and criminal domestic violence, alimony, equitable distribution, misdemeanor criminal cases, and involuntary commitments. I have exemplary courtroom demeanor and clear expectations of courtroom decorum and professionalism.

My prior legal experience was diverse and provided the foundation for a sound knowledge of the law, an understanding of the rules of procedure, and a standard of professionalism that I have brought to the bench. I practiced litigation in state and federal Courts in NC and SC while at Parker Poe and at my own law firm. I am an honors graduate of both Florida State University (Phi Beta Kappa) and the University of Georgia School of Law (Georgia Law Review). I was the first African-American President of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation and have volunteered for over sixteen years with the McCrorey YMCA.

Where do you stand with North Carolina’s current bail policy?
N.C.G.S. 15A-534 imposes specific parameters around judicial decision-making in setting of conditions of release. In 2019, Mecklenburg County implemented a data-driven revised bail policy, which aligns with the governing statute by evaluating in setting conditions of release the safety of the community and the likelihood that an individual will appear in court. The revised bail policy provides objective criteria upon which to set conditions of release and seeks to reduce the likelihood of disparate outcomes. Under both the statute and the revised bail policy, judges retain the discretion to consider, among other things, whether the release will pose a danger of injury to any person or is likely to result in the destruction of evidence or witness intimidation. Recognizing, in line with data and the statement of the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, that the criminal justice system disparately impacts minority communities, the consistent application of the governing statute as codified by the legislature and as implemented by Mecklenburg County's revised bail policy has the potential to result in objective and unbiased outcomes for all defendants while prioritizing and securing community safety.

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 3

JENA CULLER (D)

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 4

DONALD CURETON JR. (D)

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 5

FAITH FICKLING-ALVAREZ (D)

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 6

TY HANDS (D)

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 7

GARY L. HENDERSON (D)

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 8

CHRISTY T. MANN (D)

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 9

SUNNY PANYANOUVONG-RUBECK (R)

Rex Marvel
LAURA GARCES
Rex Marvel

REX MARVEL (D)
Why should people vote for you?
I serve our community as a Family Court Judge and I am committed to my role. As a child, my life was impacted by the family court system. My mother suffered from addiction, which kept my siblings and me in and out of court. I know how hard this is on families that’s why I work to make the court experience better for families and children.

I have been working throughout COVID-19 to address the rise of domestic violence and emergency custody. We have brought in new technologies like online court that have kept our community safe during the pandemic while also increasing access to justice for families and children.

I am your judge working for families and children and I am committed to promptly issuing orders so families can move forward, ensuring equitable access to justice and helping courts work better for everyone in our community. I humbly ask for your vote so I can continue to serve our community as a Family Court Judge.

Where do you stand with North Carolina’s current bail policy?
The North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct Cannon 3 A(6) prohibits any judicial candidate from making public comments about current North Carolina laws or policy. Therefore, I am prohibited from fully answering this question. See https://www.nccourts.gov/courts/supreme-court/court-rules/north-carolina-code-of-judicial-conduct

I can however say that prior to becoming a judge I worked for years as an Assistant Public Defender representing people in our community that could not afford counsel. Countless times I advocated for people that could not afford to pay their bail and therefore remained in custody. As a court system striving to be more just and equitable the bail policy is one of the issues that is currently being analyzed by judges and stakeholders in Governor Cooper's Taskforce in Racial Equity in Criminal Justice. See https://governor.nc.gov/news/governor-cooper-appoints-members-north-carolina-task-force-racial-equity-criminal-justice

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 10

C. Renee Little - District Court Judge
C. Renee Little

C. RENEE LITTLE (D)
Why should people vote for you?
I wish to serve my community as a District Court Judge because I am committed to service, I have great respect for the law, and I am an experienced and collaborative leader. I believe that our Courts should be accessible to all people and I have the knowledge, skills and values needed to ensure that our Courts operate with excellence, efficiency and equity in the administration of justice.

Where do you stand with North Carolina’s current bail policy?
As a District Court Judge I will always review the current relevant law regarding pre-trial release, thoughtfully consider the facts before me, and impartially and fairly impose a ruling that complies with the law.

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 11

ELIZABETH THORNTON TROSCH (D)

NC District Court Judge District 26 Seat 12

ROY H. WIGGINS (D)