Full Legal Name: Jane Powell Gray
Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Jane Gray
Seat Sought: Court of Appeals, Calabria seat
Partisan Affiliation: This is a nonpartisan race, but I am a registered Democrat
Date of Birth: November 21, 1949
Home Address: 3805 Casey Leigh Lane Raleigh, NC 27612
Mailing Address (if different from home): PO Box 12969 Raleigh, NC 27605
Campaign Web Site: www.judgejanegray.com
Occupation & Employer: Wake County District Court Judge; State of NC
Bachelor’s Degree Year & Institution: 1972; University of Florida
JD Year & School: 1979; Campbell University School of Law
Years lived in North Carolina: 37
Home Phone: (919) 781-8951
Work Phone: (919) 792-4800
1. What are your top priorities or issues of concern for the coming term? In addition to writing clear, concise opinions in general, I am committed to making sure that opinions in juvenile abuse, neglect, dependency cases are handled as expeditiously as possible and with as much consistency as possible.
2. What qualifies you to serve? Over thirty years of legal experience, including almost 20 in the Attorney General’s Office where I wrote numerous criminal and civil briefs and argued them in the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. I have a strong work ethic and am committed to bearing my share of the heavy workload of the Court of Appeals.
3. How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach? Outside of court I am involved in my community, state and nation as a member of my party, but there is no place for partisan politics in the courtroom. I have taken an oath to view matters before me with impartiality and fairness and this is my goal every day.
4. FOR INCUMBENTS: What have been your most important decisions in your current capacity? FOR CHALLENGERS: What decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? As a challenger, I most disagree with State v. Jones, 161 NC App 60 (2003) – finding that possession of cocaine is a misdemeanor rather than a felony (The Supreme Court overruled the decision) and State v. Scott, 187 NC App 775 (2007) – dissenting opinion – contending that a man charged with a probation violation had waived his right to be represented by an attorney despite his assertion that he could not afford to hire one.
5. What do you feel was the U.S. Supreme Court’s most important recent decision? Did you agree with the majority? What is the role of that court in setting precedent for North Carolina’s appellate courts? Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 08-205 (1/21/10). I did not agree with the majority for the reasons stated in Section I of the dissent. The majority ignored the fact that the appellant had abandoned its challenge to the constitutionality of the statute as written. The decision likely invalidates similar campaign finance laws in all fifty states and leaves Congress and state legislatures with the task of trying to figure out what, if any, restrictions can be placed on corporate and union spending in elections.
US Supreme Court rulings interpreting the US Constitution and federal statutes are binding on NC appellate courts.
6. Do you feel that North Carolina’s current system of judicial elections serves the state well? Are there other forms of selecting judges you feel would function better or worse than the current one? I believe a merit selection system with a voter retention election at the conclusion of the appointed term is preferable. I support the efforts of the NC Bar Association which is trying to forge a coalition among the legal profession, the General Assembly, the Governor, the Chief Justice, and others to draft a bill to amend the state Constitution to this end.
7. Have you ever pled guilty or no contest to any criminal charge other than a minor traffic offense? Please explain. No.
8. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
I do not consider whether a decision I make is popular with voters; I do my best to apply the rule of law in every case. Thus, I would never write an opinion just to “earn” popularity points if the law was not supportive of the opinion or avoid writing one that might be unpopular when the law clearly mandates it.
9. Do you favor or oppose applying a plain error review to all alleged errors in capital cases? Do you favor or oppose mandating appellate review in post-conviction capital cases to help avoid arbitrariness in review of post-conviction capital cases by superior court judges? Please explain
Capital cases do not come before the NC Court of Appeals, so these questions are not applicable to this office.