Justia North Carolina Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Legal Ethics
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The Supreme Court ordered that Respondent, C. Randy Pool, a Judge of the General Court of Justice, District Court Division, Judicial District 29A, be censured for conduct in violation of Canons 1, 2A, 2B, 3A(4), and 3A(5) of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376(b) for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.The Judicial Standards Commission filed a Recommendation of Judicial Discipline recommending that Respondent be censured for sexual misconduct. The Supreme Court concluded that the Commission's findings of fact were supported by clear and convincing evidence and that the Commission's conclusions of law were supported by those facts. The Court then ordered that Respondent be censured. View "In re Pool" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court ordered that Respondent William F. Brooks be suspended without compensation from office as a Judge of the General Court of Justice, District Court Division, Judicial district Twenty-Three, for thirty days from the entry of this order, holding that Respondent violated Canons 1, 2A, 5D, and 6C of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.The Judicial Standards Commission recommended that Respondent be censured for violations of Canons 1, 2A, 5D, and 6C amounting to conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that constituted willful misconduct in office. Respondent accepted responsibility for his actions, acknowledging they were wrong, and the Commission found that Respondent cooperated, admitted error and showed remorse. The Supreme Court concluded that the Commission's findings of fact were supported by clear and convincing evidence and that the Commission's conclusions of law were supported by those facts and then determined that a one-month sanction was appropriate. View "In re Brooks" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court adopted the recommendations from the Judicial Standards Commission that Edwin D. Clontz, a Judge of the General Court of Justice, District Court Division, Judicial District Twenty-Eight, be publicly reprimanded, holding that the Commission's findings and recommendation of public reprimand were appropriate.After a disciplinary hearing, the Commission made findings of fact and conclusions of law and recommended that the Supreme Court publicly reprimand Judge Clontz for conduct in violation of Canons 2A and 3A(4) of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute, in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376. The Supreme Court held (1) the Commission's findings of fact were supported by clear, cogent and convincing evidence and there was no error in the Commission's conclusions; and (2) Judge Clontz must be publicly reprimanded. View "In re Clontz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics
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The Supreme Court ordered that Court of Appeals Judge Hunter Murphy should be censured for violations of Canons 1, 2B, 3A(3), and 3B(2) of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct amounting to conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute, in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376(b), holding that censure was appropriate.The Judicial Standards Commission recommended that Judge Murphy be censured based on its findings of fact and conclusions of law. After reviewing the record and transcript, the Supreme Court concluded that the Commission's findings of fact and conclusions of law were supported by clear and convincing evidence and that the judge's conduct was prejudicial to the administration of justice and denigrated the reputation and integrity of the judiciary as a whole. Therefore, the Supreme Court ordered that Judge Murphy be censured. View "In re Murphy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics
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The Supreme Court ordered that Respondent Michael A. Stone, a judge of the General Court of Justice, District Court Division 16A, be censured for conduct in violation of Canons 1, 2A, and 2B of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute in violation of N.C. Gen. Laws 7A-376, holding that the Judicial Standards Commission's findings were adequately supported by clear and convincing evidence and supported the Commission's conclusions of law.The Commission filed a statement of charges against Respondent alleging that he had engaged in conduct inappropriate to his judicial office by, among other things, demonstrating a lack of respect for the office and by making a number of misleading and grossly negligent assertions regarding his representation of a former client. Based on its findings of fact and conclusions of law, the Commission recommended that the Supreme Court censure Respondent. After weighing the severity of Respondent's misconduct against his candor and cooperation, the Supreme Court concluded that the Commission's recommended censure was appropriate. View "In re Stone" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court ordered that Angela C. Foster be censured for conduct in violation of Canons 1, 2A, 3A(3) and 3A(4) of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376.The Judicial Standards Commission counsel filed a statement of charges against District Court Judge Angela C. Foster (Respondent) alleging that she had engaged in conduct inappropriate to her judicial office. Based on its findings of fact and conclusions of law, the Commission recommended that the Supreme Court censure Respondent. The Supreme Court concluded that the Commission's recommended censure was appropriate and ordered that Respondent be censured. View "In re Foster" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics
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The Supreme Court ordered that Respondent, April M. Smith, a Judge of the General Court of Justice, District Court Division, Judicial District Twelve, be publicly reprimanded for conduct in violation of Canons 1, 2A, 3A(3), and 3B(1) of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute, in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376.The Judicial Standards Commission filed a statement of charges against Respondent alleging that she had engaged in conduct inappropriate to her office by demonstrating a lack of respect for the judicial office of the Chief Judge and court staff and other offenses. The Commission Counsel and Respondent entered into a stipulation and agreement for stated disposition that tended to support a decision to publicly reprimand Respondent. The Supreme Court concluded that the Commission's recommended public reprimand was appropriate and ordered that Respondent be publicly reprimanded. View "In re Smith" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics
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The Supreme Court ordered that Respondent Ronald L. Chapman be suspended without compensation from office as a Judge of the General Court of Justice, District Court Division Twenty-Six, for thirty days for conduct violating Canons 1, 2A, 3A(5), and 3B(1) of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute, in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376, holding that the Judicial Standards Commission’s recommended thirty-day suspension without compensation was appropriate.The Commission Counsel filed a statement of charges against Respondent, alleging that he had engaged in inappropriate conduct by failing to issue a ruling for more than five years on a motion for permanent child support. Based on its findings of fact and conclusions of law, the Commission recommended that the Supreme Court suspend Respondent without pay for a period of thirty days. The Supreme Court concluded that the recommended sanction was appropriate and ordered that Respondent be suspended without compensation for thirty days. View "In re J.C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics
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Based upon the findings and conclusions and the recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission, the Supreme Court concluded that Respondent Gary L. Henderson, a Judge of the General Court of Justice, District Court Division 26, be publicly reprimanded for violations of Canons 1, 2A, 3A, and 3B of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct amounting to conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute, in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376. The Supreme Court then ordered that Henderson be publicly reprimanded, holding that the Commission’s findings of fact were supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence in the record and that the Commission’s findings of fact supported its conclusions of law. View "In re Henderson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics
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The Supreme Court ordered that Respondent William Henry Shipley, a deputy commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission, be publicly reprimanded for violations of Canons 1 and 2A of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376.The Judicial Standards Commission recommended that Respondent be publicly reprimanded for engaging in conduct inappropriate to his office by wrecking his vehicle while driving under the influence of an impairing substance. The Supreme Court held (1) the Commission’s findings of fact were supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence in the record and supported the Commission’s conclusions of law; and (2) based upon these findings and conclusions and the Commission’s recommendation, Respondent should be publicly reprimanded. View "In re Inquiry Concerning a Deputy Commissioner, William Henry Shipley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics