McCrory names Winston-Salem lawyer to N.C. Appeals Court

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory announced the latest in a series of judicial appointments on Monday, naming Winston-Salem lawyer Richard Dietz to an upcoming vacancy on the N.C. Court of Appeals.

Dietz will take the place of current Appeals Court Judge Bob Hunter, who has been appointed to fill the N.C. Supreme Court seat of Justice Mark Martin, who in turn was tapped by McCrory to take the place of retiring Chief Justice Sarah Parker.

Dietz will join the Appeals Court after Hunter moves to the Supreme Court on Sept. 6.

“Richard Dietz has an esteemed legal record and an extensive background in appellate practice,” McCrory said. “His experience, service on the North Carolina Courts Commission and involvement in his community will make him a valuable addition to the Court of Appeals.”

Dietz is a partner in the Winston-Salem office of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and a member of the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court team. He is vice chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the N.C. Bar Association and is a member of the Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee.

Earlier this year, McCrory appointed Dietz to the N.C. Courts Commission, which studies the state’s courts system and recommends improvements.

Dietz graduated first in his class from Wake Forest University School of Law.  He was a law clerk for Judge Samuel Wilson on the U.S. District Court in Virginia and Judge Emory Widener on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  He then worked as a research fellow in comparative and international law at Kyushu University in Japan before returning to the U.S. to begin his career as an appellate attorney.

The appointment of Dietz continues a busy month of judicial appointments for the McCrory administration, which includes the naming of Lisa Bell to take the place of retired Court of Appeals Judge John Martin.

Established in 1967, the Court of Appeals is North Carolina’s intermediate appellate court, with its 15 judges hearing cases in panels of three.

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McCrory makes appointment to N.C. Appeals Court

(Photo: Judge Lisa Bell – Facebook)

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday announced his appointment of Judge Lisa Bell to the N.C. Court of Appeals.

Bell, who currently serves as a special Superior Court judge, will temporarily take the place of Appeals Court Judge John Martin, who retired from the bench on Aug. 1.

She will serve on the Court of Appeals until the end of this year, after which the winner of a 19-candidate special election held this fall will take the seat for a new eight-year term.

“Judge Bell has been a tremendous asset to our state’s judiciary, first as a District Court judge and now as a special Superior Court judge,” McCrory said. “Her dedication, wisdom and experience will serve our state well and I look forward to her continued service on the Court of Appeals.”

Prior to her appointment as a special Superior Court judge by McCrory in May of 2013, Bell served as chief District Court judge for Mecklenburg County from 2009 to 2013.

First elected a District Court judge in 1998, she was re-elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Previously, Bell was in private practice as a family lawyer and served as an attorney advocate with the Children’s Law Center.

Bell graduated from Wake Forest University with a bachelor of arts in economics.  She earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina.

She is running unopposed for the Superior Court this November.

Established in 1967, the Court of Appeals is North Carolina’s intermediate appellate court, with its 15 judges hearing cases in panels of three.

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McCrory makes appointment to N.C. Supreme Court

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday announced that he will appoint current N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Bob Hunter to the state Supreme Court.

Effective Sept. 6, Hunter will fill the seat being vacated by Justice Mark Martin, who in turn is taking the place of retiring Chief Justice Sarah Parker at the end of this month.

Hunter is running this fall for a full eight-year term in that Supreme Court seat against N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin IV.

“As a lawyer who practiced for 35 years and as a current judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Judge Hunter has the experience and integrity needed to serve on North Carolina’s Supreme Court,” McCrory said. “I am confident that Judge Hunter will continue to serve our state to the best of his legal abilities and with the highest of ethical standards.”

A member of the N.C. Court of Appeals since 2008, Hunter practiced law for 35 years in Greensboro.

He has served as chairman of the State Board of Elections and deputy attorney general. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969 and with a J.D. from the UNC School of Law in 1973.

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McCrory names Mark Martin as N.C. chief justice

Justice Mark Martin at the 2013 N.C. Inaugural Parade in Raleigh. (Photo: TheVoterUpdate.com)

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory announced on Monday that he will appoint Mark Martin as the next chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.

Martin, the court’s senior associate justice, will take over for Chief Justice Sarah Parker, who is stepping down at the end of August due to reaching the mandatory retirement age of 72 for North Carolina judges.

“Chief Justice Parker has been a dedicated, just and reliable public servant, serving our state with great dignity and leadership, and holding herself to the highest of standards,” McCrory said at a press conference in the Old House Chamber of the State Capitol. “Her tenure as chief justice will be remembered for years to come, and we are so grateful for the time she spent in service to North Carolina.”

Martin is running for a full eight-year term as chief justice this November against Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis.

“Justice Martin has served as the senior associate justice since 2006, and our court is better for it,” McCrory said. “The humility and integrity of his character has benefited our state, and his knowledge and depth of experience is inimitable. I look forward to his work as chief justice as he draws upon his more than 20 years of judicial experience.”

Martin earned his juris doctor degree from the UNC School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University.

In 1998, Martin was elected to fill an open seat on the N.C. Supreme Court. At 35 years old, he became the youngest Supreme Court justice in North Carolina history. Martin had previously served on the N.C. Court of Appeals for four years and as a Superior Court judge in Greenville for two years.

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19 candidates running in special election for N.C. Appeals Court seat

A whopping 19 candidates have filed to run in a special election to replace retired N.C. Court of Appeals Judge John Martin.

Whichever candidate garners a plurality of votes in the special statewide election, which will be held in conjunction with the state’s normal general election on Nov. 4, will win an eight-year term on the court.

The N.C. Constitution allows only licensed attorneys to serve as judges. The filing fee for N.C. Appeals Court candidates is $1,331.

Judicial candidates run without party labels, although political parties often endorse contenders for the court. However, with such a large field, it will be interesting to see if the parties weigh in on this contest.

The following candidates have filed for the seat:

• Marion Warren
• Chuck Winfree
• John M. Tyson
• Elizabeth Davenport Scott
• Tricia Shields
• Jody Newsome
• Marty Martin
• Hunter Murphy
• Keischa Lovelace
• Ann Kirby
• Abe Jones
• Sabra Jean Faires
• Daniel Patrick Donahue
• J. Brad Donovan
• Lori G. Christian
• Jeffrey M. Cook
• Betsy Bunting
• John S. Arrowood
• Valerie Johnson Zachary

A similar special election to the N.C. Appeals Court in 2010 attracted 13 candidates when Judge James Wynn vacated his seat to join the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. That contest employed North Carolina’s first ever use of “instant runoff voting” for a statewide race, but the system was repealed by lawmakers and replaced with having the winner in these special judicial elections decided by a plurality of votes.

In addition to the special election to fill Martin’s seat, there will be three other N.C. Court of Appeals contests on the ballot this fall.

Established in 1967, the Court of Appeals is North Carolina’s intermediate appellate court, with its 15 judges hearing cases in panels of three.

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