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NC District Court Judge District 05 Seat 8

The NC District Court hears civil cases involving less than $25,000 and criminal misdemeanors. District Court also oversees juvenile court and the magistrates, which handle things like small claims and evictions.Judges are elected for 4 year terms. Legislation in 2017 changed these elections to partisan elections with no primary. There are 43 districts across the state, most of them either one or two counties.

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    Richard Kern

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    Sandra Alice Ray

Biographical Information

What unique personal and professional experiences have prepared you for this judgeship?

You are running for a partisan judicial position. What role should the platform of your political party play in your work as a judge on the court?

What do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice and do you think there is a role you should play to address these obstacles?

What experiences do you bring to the kind of cases likely to come before you in the areas of family law, criminal law and juvenile justice issues?

Age (optional) 44
Contact Phone (910) 508-5603
email address
Position/philosophy statement Impartial, Fair, and Respectful application of the facts of your case to the law as it is written.
I have practiced law in New Hanover and Pender Counties for over ten years. In that time I have dealt with civil litigation, traffic court, land use law, zoning law, juvenile issues, and, primarily, family law. My diverse background, legal training, and temperament will serve me well on the bench.
I am a life-long Republican. I believe the law should be applied to the facts of a case as written by the legislature in a fair-minded and equitable manner. I must apply the law as the legislature intends.
The greatest obstacle to justice is social exclusion, which is the denial of the opportunities, rights, and resources of life in mainstream society by another group. It is more than economic impoverishment, due process violations, or abusive civic engagement; and the disadvantages associated with it are long-lasting, pervasive, and compounding. We as Americans are the only ones who can address the problem and we must do so by never accepting mediocrity as normal and always striving to do better for ourselves and our good neighbors; by civic involvement and voting; and by being the ones to which our government and our government officials must answer.
I have been practicing family law in southeastern North Carolina for over ten years. As a family attorney I am most rewarded when I witnesses good parents manage their differences during a divorce and custody dispute and emerge better parents for the effort.

In addition to family law, I have experience in criminal and juvenile justice issues, especially those associated with the family dynamic. My Appellate practice as also provided me with the opportunity to address issues from a different perspective (analyzing case law and District Court decisions from a pure law perspective).

For more information about my experience, please review my Curriculum Vita at:
Age (optional) 55
Contact Phone (910) 617-3056
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of New Hanover and Pender Counties, as a District Court Judge, for the past 15 years. I have worked hard to build a reputation as a judge who adheres to the principles of law and order. I also believe that justice needs to be tempered with fairness at all costs. It is for these reason that experience - both in the courtroom and in life - is essential to meeting the high standards of judicial service. In short, EXPERIENCE MATTERS. For nearly 30 years, I have practiced law in the courtroom almost daily - as an Assistant District Attorney, as a private practitioner, and for the past 15 years, as a District Court Judge. I was a local business owner. I am a proud single parent of three beautiful children. And, I have served on boards and committees of various civic organizations for the past 30 years. These experiences have informed my judgement in every case I have presided over in the last 15 years. Beyond a list of experiences and endorsements, a good judge needs to understand the people and the communities they serve. New Hanover and Pender Counties are diverse - in their business, their people and their needs. As a judge and a citizen, I understand these diversities. My family has lived in New Hanover and Pender Counties for four generations. I have lived in this community my entire professional career. I have raised my children here. I have committed my life to serving the people of this community.
While I generally agree with Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s view of a judiciary independent of the political undertakings of the other branches of government, I strongly believe that my longtime commitment to the political ideologies of the Republican Party frames and informs my judgment in the work I do from the bench every day. I am proud of my Republican values. I believe in adherence to the rule of law. I believe in a robust free enterprise. I believe in accountability, tempered with fairness. I believe the role of the judiciary is to stand firm as an arbitrator of justice: not an inventor of social policy. And, I believe that judges – more so than any other – must serve as a guidepost for honor and integrity within our judicial system.
The two greatest obstacles we face in our justice system are equal access to justice and public confidence in our judicial system. Under-resourced, and with growing dockets, our judicial system struggles to provide efficient access to the public. Attorneys and court personnel are overworked, and stretched thin. I understand that people often feel disconnected and frustrated – as if they do not have a voice - and they lack confidence that justice will be served in their case. As a judge, it is my primary function to ensure that people have access to our judicial system, and leave with a sense that justice was done. It is my responsibility to serve the public to the best of my abilities, and to expect the same of all others working in our judicial system.

Sound, informed judgment and practical tenure are absolutely essential to the work we do as judges. I am proud of my record, serving fifteen years on the bench and nearly thirty years as an attorney. As a graduate of Campbell Law School, I began my career in public service as a prosecutor in New Hanover and Pender Counties. In resolving tens of thousands of cases in both District and Superior Court, I obtained a tremendous amount of experience on the government side of our criminal and juvenile justice systems. Looking to round out my experience, I took on an associate attorney position in an established Wilmington law firm, concentrating in criminal and civil law. Then with over ten years in practice, I established my own law firm focused on civil and adult and juvenile criminal law. I fought tirelessly for my clients, in one matter receiving a $1.5 million dollar civil judgement for my client. In the fifteen years that have followed as a judge, and in my twenty-nine years in practice, I have worked on all manner of cases, controversies and judicial matters, ranging from Capital murder to speeding tickets; child custody, child support and divorces; abuse prevention orders; civil lawsuits and contract disputes; and thousands of cases – large and small – in between. Moreover, as a proud parent of three, and one of two Judges who presides over the Juvenile Session in Pender County, I also bring a wealth of knowledge and experience toward helping the youth of our community