Two judgeships up for election in Wake County District Court merit special attention because of the importance of the trial court at that level.
In Wake County, Judge Louis Meyer is seeking to retain the seat to which he was appointed by former Gov. Beverly Perdue. Meyer is the son of a former state Supreme Court justice and a veteran attorney formerly with the Poyner Spruill firm, where civil litigation was his specialty.
Meyer is a well-connected professional who has been a past president of the Wake Bar Association and the 10th Judicial District Bar Association.
But in Ronnie Ansley, an attorney with a broad-based background, the citizens of Wake have a chance to install in a District Court judgeship someone who has a personal and professional history that has given him knowledge of people from all walks of life.
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That would make Ansley a good, sound and sympathetic judge in what is called the “people’s court,” and he has The News & Observer’s endorsement. He is a former Eagle Scout, and as a young man was active in the Future Farmers of America. He’s also sold agricultural products for a living and has an advanced degree in agricultural education. His life experience will help him understand the average folks who typically appear in District Court.
In another Wake judgeship race, veteran Judge Craig Croom, who served as a District Court judge for 12 years, seeks a seat now held by Charles Gilliam. Gilliam is a veteran attorney with good credentials, but he can’t match Croom’s experience, and the choice here is clear. Croom was originally appointed to the bench in 1999 by former Gov. Jim Hunt, who had a knack for spotting legal talent, and Croom proved him right as a judge. The courthouse needs the breadth of knowlege Croom will bring to the job and he has our endorsement.
Knox in the clerk’s race
Now here’s a happy dilemma for the voters of Wake County: There are two qualified candidates for Wake clerk of Superior Court, an office that includes a staff of approximately 160 people and is in charge of administrative duties for district and superior courts.
The post is being vacated by Lorrin Freeman, who is running for Wake County district attorney.
The candidates are Republican Jennifer Knox, a veteran District Court judge in Wake County who is knowledgeable about the clerk’s office, and Democrat Sam Bridges, an attorney who served two terms as mayor of Garner.
Our choice, owing to her experience as a judge and her overall knowledge of all levels of courts in the Wake County Justice Center, is Jennifer Knox. She has a been a sound, even-handed judge for 10 years and is respected by attorneys and staff alike.
In a career that included a stint in the Wake District Attorney’s Office, Knox has built her own reputation, and it is a sound one.
Her opponent, Bridges, is a respected attorney with a pleasant demeanor who as mayor of Garner had broad-based support and many admirers in the community. He has been a lawyer, now specializing in criminal defense, for 25 years.
Bridges also has the benefit of long experience in the law going for him in terms of his understanding of the clerk’s office and its importance in helping the courthouse run efficiently. He’d do a good and honest job as clerk.
But our nod goes to Knox because of her experience on the bench, where she has interacted with the clerk’s office and taken a special interest in that office for a number of years.