Oct. 25, 2016
Judge candidates don’t promise to do specific things if they are elected to office. “Come to my court; I’ll make sure you do minimal jail time.”
Instead, it is voters’ job to listen to what judicial candidates say, where they have been, what they’ve done, how they’ve prepared for judge work, to decide whether they might have what it takes to be a good judge. And since that’s a difficult task, North Carolina demands that even longtime judges go back before the voters on a regular schedule. And as Court of Appeals Judge Bob Hunter said today, decisions rendered one year can “can come back to bite you” in the next election.
Much of the Forum discussion today, as in previous Forums with judicial candidates, focused on how the N.C. judicial system itself works. Why some judicial races have one judge listed, others two. Why judges recuse themselves sometimes, but not always. Why some judges are listed by political party, others not.
Judges lead complicated lives, and it has not been possible to provide Forum participants direct matchups in most cases. Among the judge candidates appearing today: Tracy Hewett and Aretha Blake are running for a single District Court seat. Ben Thalheimer is running against incumbent David Strickland, who was not present, for another District Court seat. Republican Bob Hunter, an incumbent, is running for a single Court of Appeals seat against Democrat Abe Jones, an incumbent Superior Court judge who was at the Forum Oct. 18. Democrat Rozier, a Wake District Court judge, is running against incumbent Republican Court of Appeals Judge Richard Dietz.
In the video below, presentations by the candidates begin at minute 16:05, with the Q&A immediately following at 36:12.
Failure of the amplification system created some distraction at minute 42 and thereafter, and finally was shut down. Listeners may need to increase the volume on the video at that point. The scribe apologizes for the distraction.