Feb. 11, 2020
Judge Aretha Blake asked for time this morning to issue an apology for what she termed a disruption of the Forum by a WBTV reporter. The reporter’s interview with Blake took place Feb. 4 in the Forum meeting room, but before the Forum had begun. About a dozen people were in the room.
In her statement today, Blake did not address the substance of the issues raised in the media report, which revolve around court orders that have not been filed, causing delays in child support for at least the one plaintiff interviewed by WBTV. The report said there were more than 50 such cases pending from 2017, and that the Court of Appeals had intervened in one of those cases.
In an open letter to Mecklenburg residents Feb. 6 and issued by her election committee, Blake denied having “52 undecided cases.” The text does not make clear whether she was taking issue with the number 52 or the characterization of the cases as “undecided,” or both. And the statement may not help nonlawyers understand why seekers of child support in cases before her might legitimately face long delays in that financial assistance. The Feb. 6 statement termed the WBTV report a “politically motivated attempt to distort and grossly miseducate the public about my integrity and the inner workings of the court.”
“I wanted you to see that despite the lies, despite the false statements, despite the misconstruing of facts, I am still standing,” Judge Blake said Tuesday. “And I am still standing for this community. I will stand – no matter what comes or who tries to… come with misleading statements and misconstrue my service. I will still stand, because the children in foster care, the children who come to juvenile court, the children that I serve every day, need me there, they need us there, and they need this community support.”
Reporter Nick Ochsner’s Feb. 6 report is here. As of Feb. 11, he had posted no follow-ups.
Blake is the only local judge facing a Democratic Party primary. She participated in the Forum with her opponent, lawyer Lynna Moen, on Feb. 4. Material on that Forum is here.
Below is a video of Judge Blake’s comments today. The video was part of the livestream of the Feb. 11 Forum, found here.
To start the video below, click on it.
On Tuesday evening, Feb. 25, the Charlotte Observer reported that Blake had filed a lawsuit in Superior Court seeking a restraining order blocking publication of a new story scheduled to be aired Thursday, FEb. 27. Superior Court Judge Daniel Kuehnert planned to reconvene a hearing on the request Wednesday afternoon. The Observer’s Feb. 25 report is here.
Michael Gordon’s overview story in the Observer on Feb. 27 on the judicial race is here.
On Friday, Feb. 28, the 26th Judicial District of North Carolina issued and Judge Blake’s campaign distributed a statement from the courts in which a courts tally of Blake’s orders showed far more timely filings by the judge than was suggested by the numbers WBTV cited in its Feb. 6 initial story.