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Post-Election Criminal Law Updates

The November 2014 election in North Carolina had numerous potential effects on the criminally accused in Guilford County. This post is an attempt at a comprehensive update regarding those changes.

Constitutional Amendment. Perhaps most importantly, North Carolinians voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment wherein the criminally accused now have the right to waive jury trials in Superior Court cases and instead have a bench trial a.k.a. a trial by judge. This blog previously discussed the good and bad aspects to such an Amendment which can be read here.

North Carolina Supreme Court.                 On the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Mark Martin, who had recently been appointed such by the Governor, was elected to a full 8 year term as Chief Justice. Associate Justice Robin Hudson was re-elected to a new 8 year term after fending off Judge Eric Levinson. Associate Justice Cheri Beasley, appointed at the end of 2012, appears to have been elected to serve a full term after defeating challenger Mike Robinson; however that race could require a recount as the final margin of victory for Beasley was just over 3,000 votes. Finally, Sam Ervin, IV, a sitting judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals was elected to replace Justice Bob Hunter; Hunter was recently been appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor McCrory.

North Carolina Court of Appeals.  Donna Stroud was re-elected to another term in the North Carolina Court of Appeals as she ran unopposed. Mark Davis was also elected to serve a full term in the Court of Appeals after defeating challenger Paul Holcombe. Newcomers Lucy Inman and Bill Southern squared off with Lucy Inman gaining the victory to fill Judge Bob Hunter’s former seat. Finally, the retirement of Chief Judge John Martin occurred too late for a primary election and yet too early for an appointment by the Governor and the result was an election which saw 19 names on the ballot – with Former Court of Appeals Judge John Tyson earning election back into the Court with 24% of the vote.

Guilford County Judges.      In Guilford County, Resident Superior Court Judge Stuart Albright was re-elected to his seat for District 18C, he was unopposed. Chief District Court Judge Wendy Enochs and District Court Judge Thomas Jarrell, Jr. were both also re-elected for District 18 – both were unopposed.

Guilford County District Attorney. Current Guilford County District Attorney Doug Henderson was re-elected for another term – he was unopposed.

Guilford County Sheriff.     BJ Barnes continued his stint as the longest-serving Sheriff in Guilford County history and was re-elected in a closer than expected election against opponent Danny Rogers.


For more information about this article, contact the Clifford Division of Clifford, Clendenin & O’hale.

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