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Judicial Elections

May 27, 2011

Does the Missouri Plan strip politics from the process or power from the people?

While the North Carolina Legislature wonders whether a massive change in how the state chooses judges is a good idea, John Johnston, a Kansas City, Mo., attorney, has no doubts. Johnston, president of the Missouri Bar Association, is a strong supporter of the judicial election system that bears his home state's name: the Missouri Plan. That's the kind of plan that reform-minded North Carolin[...]

May 27, 2011

Should NC trust voters to elect the best judges?

If the North Carolina Bar Association has its way, voters in 2012 will be presented with an opportunity to create a drastically new, and complex, system of selecting the state's judges. But some attorneys say North Carolina's current system is fine, and the power to select judges should be left where it is: in the hands of voters. The NCBA is pushing Senate Bill 458, which would establish th[...]

Apr 8, 2011

Perdue order creates panel, cedes power for judge picks

Saying "this is history," Gov. Bev Perdue signed an executive order last week that will establish a nominating commission to screen candidates for consideration when judicial vacancies come open. "You've seen a page turned in the North Carolina judiciary," Perdue said after she signed the bill, flanked by seven former N.C. Supreme Court justices and chief justices from both parties. The order ta[...]

Apr 1, 2011

Bill would insert committee into judicial elections

A measure introduced in the General Assembly last week would create a hybrid system of selecting judges that would combine a screening committee with elections by the public - the first system of its kind in the nation. The legislation was crafted by the NCBA Committee for Judicial Independence, co-chaired by former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Exum and John Wester (pictured), past preside[...]

Mar 17, 2011

Legislature considers re-injecting parties into judicial elections

Measures to restore partisan judicial elections are gaining momentum in both houses of the General Assembly. Supporters say voters need more information about judicial candidates. Opponents of the measure agree, but say that party affiliation is not the information voters need. "Yes, the public needs to know more," said John Wester, past president of the N.C. Bar Association. "But just like a boo[...]

Mar 4, 2011

An update on bills pending in the NC General Assembly

The medical-malpractice reform bill backed by business interests and opposed by plaintiffs’ lawyers was quickly voted out of the Senate Judiciary I Committee last week. By a 36-13 vote, it passed the Senate and now goes to the House. The bill, S. 33, establishes a $500,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical-malpractice cases. It also […]

Feb 18, 2011

Bill would give appellate court appointees time to exhale

They're not calling it "Cressie's Law," but a bill introduced in the state House last week with bipartisan support is designed to prevent a Court of Appeals race from turning into a 13-way scramble as it did when Judge Cressie Thigpen (pictured) ran to retain his seat last fall. The bill, H. 99, would amend the N.C. Constitution so that appellate judges will "have adequate time to fulfill their ju[...]

Dec 23, 2010

After recount shows wider margin, Thigpen concedes

By SYLVIA ADCOCK, Staff Writer [email protected]   After narrowly losing his Court of Appeals seat to Doug McCullough, Judge Cressie Thigpen Jr. said last week that he was “open to having discussions with the governor” about filling the seat that will come open in January when Court of Appeals Judge Barbara Jackson joins the Supreme […]

Dec 20, 2010

Recount shows McCullough bested Thigpen by wider margin

A recount of votes requested by Judge Cressie Thigpen Jr. was completed late Monday, with the results showing that Doug McCullough is the winner of the Court of Appeals seat, with the gap between the two widening slightly. McCullough, a former Court of Appeals judge, narrowly edged out Thigpen when the second- and third-place ballots were counted in the instant-runoff election. In the 13-way race [...]

Dec 8, 2010

McCullough edges Thigpen in instant runoff for appeals court

In a surprise turnaround, former Court of Appeals Judge Doug McCullough has narrowly edged out Judge Cressie Thigpen Jr., apparently winning the seat. With all 100 counties reporting the results of a second round of ballot-counting, McCullough has a 5,988-vote lead over Thigpen. A spokesman for Thigpen said his campaign will ask for a recount, with a letter being delivered to the state Board of El[...]

Dec 3, 2010

Counties still counting votes in 13-way appeals court race

Court of Appeals Judge Cressie Thigpen Jr. is maintaining his lead over challenger Doug McCullough as workers at county elections boards across the state continue to count second- and third-place votes to determine the winner of the seat that went up for grabs when Judge James A. Wynn Jr. was confirmed to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. As of Thursday evening, elections officials in 52 of N[...]

Nov 5, 2010

Keeping the seat: Race over, Elmore and Walker discuss tough campaign

 By SYLVIA ADCOCK, Staff Writer [email protected] In a year when dissatisfied voters around the nation and state tossed out incumbents, North Carolina’s Court of Appeals judges fended off their challengers, including one who proved stiff competition to a veteran judge. That contest – the most closely watched of any of the appellate court races – […]

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