N.C. Superior Court Judge, District 10C

Becky Holt

As we noted in our primary endorsement for this race, all five current Wake County Superior Court judges are men. It’s 2016, and we should be striving for more diversity. But that’s not why we’re endorsing Becky Holt. Having served for twenty-seven years as an assistant district attorney in Wake County, Holt has earned the respect of her peers and a reputation for fairness. Her opponent, Michael Denning, has served as a district court judge since 2010. Where Holt has kept her political affiliations out of this nonpartisan race, Denning is campaigning as “the conservative choice.” We prefer our judges less ideological than that.

N.C. District Court Judge, District 10 (Bousman)

Bryant Paris III

Monica Bousman has experience; she’s spent nearly two decades as a district court judge in Wake County. Yet her opponent, Bryant Paris III, is the better choice. He’s ranked higher than his opponent in all categories by his peers at the N.C. Bar Association in the most recent Judicial Performance Evaluation Survey. In his candidate questionnaire, he demonstrated a robust legal knowledge and showed that he’d be a fair voice and an advocate for everyone in the district.

Bousman believes that as long as the public is electing judges, the judicial system will be too politicized—and, to be honest, she has a point, given how little tends to be known about judges on the ballot. But we’re siding with Paris anyhow.

N.C. District Court Judge, District 10 (Nagle)

Walter Rand

Walter Rand stands out because of his background as a defense attorney and his understanding of what many men and women face in court, including the difficulty of paying court fees and how problematic unlawful incarceration is in Wake County.

While Dan Nagle, the incumbent and a former police officer, has experience, his and Rand’s peers at the N.C. Bar Association ranked Rand superior to Nagle in integrity and impartiality, legal ability, communication, and administrative skills. (Nagle edges Rand in professionalism.) We, too, think Rand is the better choice.

N.C. District Court Judge, District 10 (Worley)

Marty E. Miller

When Anna E. Worley last ran for reelection in 2012, a group of parents campaigned loudly against her, saying she lacked the temperament to deal with delicate family issues. We endorsed her, albeit with reservations. Not this time.

Her opponent, Marty E. Miller, is a formidable challenger with a background both in law and education, which offers valuable experience. Miller has served in the Wake County Juvenile Court and is dedicated to helping get Wake County’s youth out of the school-to-prison pipeline.

Worth noting: Miller also scores better than Worley—quite considerably in some cases—across the board in the N.C. Bar Association survey.

We think a change will be good for the district court.

N.C. District Court Judge, District 14 (Marsh)

Shamieka Rhinehart

Both candidates are highly capable, but we believe Shamieka Rhinehart will be a welcome addition to the Durham County bench. As a prosecutor, she’s worked on the county’s misdemeanor diversion program, and she promises to “temper my decisions not just with an understanding of the law, but it will be also important for me to recognize the huge sacrifices and circumstances that various people carry with them into the judicial system.” We think that’s a good trait for a judge to have. Moreover, Rhinehart has been extraordinarily well rated by members of the N.C. Bar, far outstripping her opponent, incumbent William Marsh.

N.C. District Court Judge, District 15B (Anderson)

Samantha Cabe

This race to succeed retiring judge Charles Anderson has two candidates: Samantha Cabe, a Chapel Hill attorney, and Chatham County Superior Court clerk Sam Cooper.

Cabe represents both the Orange County and Chatham County Departments of Social Service in cases before the N.C. Court of Appeals and the N.C. Supreme Court, and promises to “confront the biases and barriers that many citizens face when seeking access to justice.” She also supports increased substance-abuse treatment and misdemeanor diversion programs for first-time offenders and youth.

Cooper has extensive experience in international law, having worked on anti-corruption reforms in Thailand and judicial reform in Latvia, and is a former assistant district attorney in Orange, Chatham, and Onslow counties. We like his experience, but given Cabe’s willingness to take a hard look at bias and structural problems in the criminal justice system, we’re endorsing her.

N.C. District Court Judge 15B (Long)

Sherri Murrell

On the ballot, Sherri Murrell—currently an assistant public defender—is running against incumbent judge Lunsford Long. But in May, Long wrote a letter to the Chatham County Bar Association saying that, because he wouldn’t be able to stay in office for a full-term—potential legislation to raise the mandatory retirement age for judges failed in the General Assembly this year—he wouldn’t pursue re-election. Long even said that Murrell was “well-qualified to replace him.” (Editor’s note: Because Long dropped out, we did not include this race in the print version of our endorsements.)