Under the Dome

District court judge named interim leader of NC courts

A district court judge from southeastern North Carolina will become interim director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts after John W. Smith retires in May.

Marion Warren – who’s been on the bench in Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties since 2000 – ran unsuccessfully for the N.C. Court of Appeals last November. Warren received 6.13 percent of votes in the 19-candidate race, coming in fourth.

“I am confident that he will bring the skills, experience, and leadership necessary for the successful administration of the courts,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin, who made the appointment.

Warren will serve from Smith’s retirement on May 1 until a new permanent director takes office. Martin says he plans to form a search committee soon to review applicants for the job.

Smith is stepping down at a time when he faces increasing conflict from Republican legislators for directing magistrates to conduct same-sex marriages, and after struggling through several years of budget cuts.