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NC Court of Appeals Judge Seat 13

The North Carolina Court of Appeals is the state's intermediate appellate court. Currently 15 judges hear cases in panels of three. The Court of Appeals reviews the proceedings that occurred in the trial courts for errors of law or legal procedure; it decides only questions of law – not questions of fact. The role of the Court of Appeals is to decide if the trial court correctly applied the law, or if there was prejudicial error in the conduct of the trial.The majority of cases appealed from the Superior and District courts in civil and criminal cases are heard by the Court of Appeals. One major exception is capital murder appeals in which the death penalty was imposed; these appeals go directly to the Supreme Court of North Carolina. In addition, direct appeals from certain of the state’s administrative agencies are heard by the Court of Appeals.

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    Chris Brook

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    Jefferson G. Griffin

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?

Contact Phone (919) 473-6538
YouTube video
I attended public middle and high school in Raleigh and UNC for my undergraduate and law degrees. I went to law school because of what our justice system aspires to: equal justice under the law for everyone. I have only ever worked in North Carolina. Serving on the Court of Appeals is a privilege allowing me not only to give back to the state but also play a role in the fair administration of justice.

I came to the Court of Appeals well prepared to serve, and my time on the bench has made me a better judge. I first practiced law at Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog in Raleigh. I was then a staff attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. When Governor Cooper appointed me to the bench in 2019, I was the Legal Director of the ACLU-NC. In these roles, I worked on everything from worker's compensation to property to constitutional law, representing North Carolinians from all walks of life. And I practiced across our state and federal courts, including successfully leading litigation at the Supreme Court of the United States. I am the only candidate for this seat with meaningful appellate legal experience. This experience helped me hit the ground running at the Court of Appeals. I have authored 77 opinions in my time on the bench that speak to my rigor, fairness, and independence. With each opinion I write, I become a better judge.

My love of the state, commitment to service, and experience prepared me well to serve. And my time on the bench shows I am up to the task.
I am a proud Democrat and have been since I first registered to vote. That being said, the Democratic Party's platform does not play any role in my work as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Though we now must run as partisans, I do not view my job as being a Democratic judge. I view my job as being a judge who approaches each case with an open mind. I view my job as doing my level best to apply the law to the facts at hand fairly and impartially. And, most importantly, I view my job as reasoning toward the most just outcome instead of serving as a rubber stamp for any interest group or political party.
As Chief Justice Beasley stated in her comments following the death of George Floyd, "Too many people believe that there are two kinds of justice. They believe it because . . . they have seen and felt the difference in their own lives."

To address this problem, we must first have the right mindset. We need to be willing to ask hard questions about our justice system. Chief Justice Beasley has served as a wonderful model for how to go about forthrightly considering where we have fallen short. The willingness to do so is one of the reasons that I am most proud of being an attorney.

Second, we should consider implicit bias training for members of the judiciary. Going through implicit bias training before taking the bench helped me to better grapple with the shortcuts that can stand in the way of realizing justice. The Court of Appeals has previously offered implicit bias training, which members of our Court found eye-opening.

Finally, on a more personal level, I value diversity and equity in my chambers. That is why I have emphasized hiring clerks, interns, and externs of color. I have also emphasized hiring women, members of the LGBTQ community, and people with different religious beliefs. I want to work with attorneys who will bring different perspectives to bear because they have and will continue to make me a better judge.

There is no magic bullet here. But through sustained effort we can close the justice gap and increase confidence in our justice system.
Age (optional) 39
Contact Phone (910) 733-0645
Twitter @JGriffinNC
Position/philosophy statement The Rule of Law; Protecting our Constitution; Access to Justice; Civic Education; and Impartiality in our Courts
Judge Griffin is currently on active duty military orders and is unable to respond to this question.
Judge Griffin is currently on active duty military orders and is unable to respond to this question.
Judge Griffin is currently on active duty military orders and is unable to respond to this question.