Full Legal Name: Stanley F. Hammer
Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Stan Hammer
Seat Sought: Wynn
Partisan Affiliation: Democrat
Date of Birth: 25 February 1953
Home Address: 3301 Madison Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27403
Mailing Address (if different from home): P.O. Box 10964, Greensboro, NC 27404-10964
Campaign Web Site: www.hammerforjudge.com
Occupation & Employer: Attorney, Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler LLP
Bachelor’s Degree Year & Institution: University of South Carolina, Dec. 1974
JD Year & School: Campbell University School of Law, 1984
Other Degrees: Master of Librarianship University of South Carolina, 1977
Years lived in North Carolina: 32
Home Phone: 336-852-7192
Work Phone: 336-819-6073
1. What are your top priorities or issues of concern for the coming term?
Because the Court of Appeals does not meet in Terms in the same manner as the United States Supreme Court, it is not possible to identify issues of concern currently on the docket. However, if elected my top priority is to become an active and productive member of a court which issues more than 1800 opinions each year in addition to disposing of petitions and motions.
2. What qualifies you to serve?
Extensive and meaningful experience in both civil and criminal trials and appeals.
The Court of Appeals docket in 2008 included 819 civil cases from Superior and District Courts as well as administrative agencies, and 656 criminal appeals. Ideally, a judge on this Court should have an extensive background and familiarity with both the civil and criminal law, the procedures governing civil and criminal trials, but also the human elements that often get lost or overlooked when reduced to an abstract ruling by a distant court.
I was admitted to the N.C. Bar more than 25 years ago. I have practiced law in both the private and public sectors, and in both the criminal and civil courts. I have represented clients charged with serious felonies, and clients who were victimized by criminal behavior.
I am no stranger to the courtroom, having tried at least 25 jury trials in Superior Court and countless bench trials. In short, I am well acquainted with the law and procedure applied in the trial courts from which all appeals are taken.
My experience in the Court of Appeals has been extensive. I have been counsel in more than 40 appeals, both civil and criminal and including several death penalty cases. I served actively for 15 years as a member of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee which studies the rules governing appeals and recommends changes for the improvement of those rules.
I have taught business law at Guilford College on a part-time basis for five years, and served as speaker/presenter in several continuing legal education seminars designed for attorneys. Just as my practice has not been limited to either criminal or civil matters, my work in continuing education includes presentations on evidence, criminal law and procedure, negligence, products liability and professional ethics.
3. How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach?
I am a registered Democrat. My political affiliation will have no impact on the manner in which I decide cases on the Court of Appeals, which is duty bound to apply the applicable law.
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?
I am unaware of any decision that the incumbent has made since appointment a few weeks ago.
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?
Regrettably, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010) is the most important recent decision of the United States Supreme Court, for it may well alter more than our nation’s electoral landscape. It may permanently impair the fragile processes by which democracy still finds a voice in everyday citizens. I strongly disagree with the majority opinion, for as Justice Stevens observed in his well reasoned dissenting opinion, the Court departs from well established precedent, and ignores the reality of modern day corporate electioneering.
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?
No. We should embrace a system that enables and facilitates considered, informed and thoughtful selections of judges, not a system that for years has been subjected to the whims of party affiliation and irrelevant issues du jour.
Although we have a superb judicial branch, the current system of judicial elections does not serve the state well. I agree with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who has repeatedly criticized the judicial election process and proposes a merit selection process based on the recommendations of non-partisan commissions.
7. Have you ever pled guilty or no contest to any criminal charge other than a minor traffic offense? Please explain.
8. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
That I will not forecast how I would rule in a given case or on any given issue without having the benefit of reviewing the record and the briefs submitted by the parties.
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.
Plain error review represents a stringent standard, and should not be applied to all alleged errors in capital cases, especially where counsel has objected to the ruling of the trial court, or the error is fundamental to the administration of justice.
I welcome any rule or legislation which avoids arbitrary judgments in capital cases, for I have represented capital defendants at trial and in post-conviction matters, and fully appreciate that arbitrary rules can result in the execution of a defendant who has not had the benefit of effective assistance of counsel, and thus a fair trial and sentencing hearing.