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 party primaries. There are 41 districts across the state, most of them either one or two counties.
Dedicated to Justice. Focused on Families.
Before my election to the District Court in 2008, I practiced Family Law for a decade. I helped clients through crises and times of extraordinary stress; finding ways for them to protect themselves from domestic violence, stabilize their finances, establish healthy new routines with their children, and create new lives.
As a Spanish-speaker, I have directly addressed issues in court that would otherwise require an interpreter, additional costs, and sometimes delays in justice Volunteering on the South-Texas border in the 90’s, I dealt with asylees who had faced the worst of human treatment at the hands of their governments. I continue to work to make our courts more accessible to first generation families who are faced with new laws and complex legal processes.
The decisions I make in District Court should not be determined by my personal beliefs, but only by application of the law to the facts of each case. My party affiliation is guided by my commitment to social justice, civil rights and environmental beliefs, which I work to promote in my private time.
Often the better ways to address the many obstacles to justice lay outside the courtroom, in our neighborhoods, legislatures and schools. However, once in the justice system, issues such as eligibility for pre-trial release, access to counsel and evenness in charging and sentencing should be considered by the judge. Unless someone poses a danger or has a history of not showing up for court, they should be released without bond. I am accommodating in my definition of who is eligible for appointed counsel. I consider whether a misdemeanor that is proven would have been charged differently (or not at all) in another offender or neighborhood, before sentencing. These obstacles should be addressed by judges. Judges can not control the systemic inequities which deliver defendants to our courtrooms, but we can, and should, consider these systemic and societal influences when using our discretion on sentencing.
The citizens of Wake County elected me to the District Court in 2008, and since then I have spent most weeks in Family Court working on child and divorce related claims. As a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist and DRC-Certified Family Financial Mediator, I am uniquely positioned to address the needs of people in my courtroom. Further, I obtained grants in 2001 and 2012 to attend specialized, national training in addressing issues of domestic violence . In 2016, I completed the four courses required by the Administrative Office of the Courts to qualify for Juvenile Certification. Before my election to the bench, I practiced family law, so I know first hand the difficulties and frustrations of the parties to divorce and custody. I always keep in mind the expense and emotional toil divorce takes on the family unit and use my decades of experience with families to arrive at decisions that provide as safe, healthy, happy, and supportive environment for children as possible, while also preserving the safety and welfare of the parents.