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NC District Court Judge District 29B Seat 3

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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    Emily Cowan

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) 42
Contact Phone (919) 824-8252
email address
I am a mother of 3 wonderful children and a wife of a wonderful husband. I have been a district court judge for almost 8 years now and I have enjoyed this challenging and important work. I have also enjoyed community involvement in schools as a speaker in classrooms sharing information about the justice system in North Carolina. I have taught at the Sheriff's citizens academy for many years as well. I continue to volunteer in the community often as a youth sports coach. Prior to becoming a judge, I was an Assistant District Attorney for 6 years and a Guardian ad Litem Attorney advocate for 3 years. I learned so much from the rewarding work of advocating for justice and for the rights of abused and neglected children in those two roles. I have taken that experience onto the bench with me as a District Court Judge.
I have sworn an oath to be a fair and impartial decision maker and follow the laws of our State and Country. I have sworn to uphold the State and Federal Constitutions. These oaths along with honesty and integrity govern how I do my job.
Anything that limits access to the court system and fairness in the administration of justice is an obstacle that should be addressed. As a District Court Judge working with other actors in the court system, we address such issues regularly as we do our jobs every day. I will continue to address these issues moving forward in my role.
Prior to becoming a judge in 2013, I had spent the entirety of my career in the fields of criminal law, family law, and juvenile justice. Both as an Assistant District Attorney, and a Guardian ad Litem, my focus was on justice and children. I was then, and continue to be on the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council in Henderson County. I was previously on the board of Safelight (when it was still Mainstay), I was part of the Community Child Protection Team and the Child Fatality Prevention Team. I was part of the Interagency Team Review on child abuse when I was still in the District Attorney's office. Since becoming a Judge, I was the first Judge in our district to get my certification as a specialist with a Juvenile Certification from the state that I continue to hold today. In order to accomplish that, I took hours of extra Continuing Judicial Education with classes focusing on the issues of Juvenile Justice. I continue to take many hours of such education every year in order to keep that certification and to continue to learn about the most effective programs and treatments for juveniles in the justice system.