Name as it appears on the ballot:   Darren Jackson 

Age:  52

Party affiliation:  Democratic Party

Campaign website:

Occupation & employer:  Judge on the NC Court of Appeals

1) Please tell us what in your record as a public official or private citizen demonstrates your ability to be effective, fair, and impartial on the bench? Please be specific. What do you believe qualifies you to serve as a Court of Appeals judge?

My record of public service and now for 20 months as a judge demonstrates the ability to be effective, fair and impartial. Citizens can look at the 110+ opinions I have written and decide for themselves if my judicial decisions are based upon anything other than the law.

I believe my 25 years of legal practice doing a wide variety of legal matters, including appeals, as well as my 20+ months on the bench best qualify me to continue to server on the Court of Appeals. Experience Matters.

2) How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach?

Politics should have no role in the judiciary and judges should check any and all personal opinions and beliefs at the door so to speak.  A judge should have no preferred outcome in a case and when in questions, should recuse.

3) What do you believe are the three most important qualities a judge must have to be an effective jurist? Which judges, past or present, do you most admire? Why?

Socrates aptly described the essential qualities of a good judge: “Four things belong to a judge: To hear courteously; to answer wisely; to consider soberly; and to decide impartially.”

On the second part of the question, I wasn’t sure if you wanted NC judges or national.  I’ve enjoyed reading books about US Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Justice William Brennan. Of course, now CJ Warren is of particular interest since he successfully made the transition from politician to jurist.

Locally, I have always admired Justice Michael Morgan and Superior Court Judge Craig Croom. I have watched them on the bench from my time as a young lawyer and have seen them serve as role models for other young lawyers and young people in their communities.  Always courteous to all those that appear in front of them, I have seen these judges making a difference in drug court and juvenile courts in ways that have made real differences in the lives of many.

4) In a sentence, how would you define your judicial philosophy?  

I try to approach each case in a fair and impartial manner without any preconceived bias or desired outcome; that is the only true way to do justice.

5) Do you favor or oppose public financing of judicial elections? What changes to North Carolina’s system of judicial elections do you believe are necessary, if any?

I favor both public financing of judicial elections and the return to judges running absent partisan labels.  That system of election of judges was working prior to the General Assembly changing it for partisan reasons.

6) In many cases, voters know very little about the judges they are electing. Tell us something about yourself that our readers may be surprised to learn.

I used to run a lot and have completed 5 marathons.

7) What sets you apart from the other candidate in this race?

I have 25 years of small town legal experience in a general practice setting. From small claims court to the NC Supreme Court, I have represented people and small businesses in every type of North Carolina court. My work experience includes criminal jury trials, civil jury trials, administrative hearings, state tort claims, small claims, workers’ compensation hearings and appeals, condemnation cases, federal tort claims, DMV hearings and appeals, and municipal government hearings. All of these cases come to the NC Court of Appeals and I am the only candidate in my race with such varied and relevant experience.

Additionally, I am the only candidate in my race that has ever filed an appeal or done work in front of the NC Court of Appeals and the NC Supreme Court.

Now I have over 20 months of experience as a judge on the NC Court of Appeals, where I have written over 110 judicial opinions, including 12+ dissents that the voters can review for themselves. Experience Matters.

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