Under the Dome

New courts director appointed

Marion Warren
Marion Warren N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts

A district court judge from Brunswick County has been appointed the new director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts.

Marion Warren assumed his new job on Tuesday, according to an announcement from the department.

He replaces John W. Smith, who retired in May after serving as director since 2009. Smith clashed with Republican legislators over his directive to magistrates to conduct same-sex marriages, and struggled through several years of budget cuts.

Warren has been working as the interim director since Smith left. He was one of 19 candidates who ran for a seat on the state Court of Appeals last year.

Warren, a registered Republican who lives in Ash, has been a district court judge in Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus counties since 2000. He was an assistant district attorney before that, and obtained his law degree from Campbell University. Gov. Jim Hunt appointed him to the bench.

According to the office, Martin appointed Warren following a national search by a committee led by former Chief Justice Burley Mitchell.

The Administrative Office of the Courts allocates money and other resources to courthouses across the state. The chief justice of the state Supreme Court, currently Justice Mark Martin, is in charge of the office.

Martin has called on the legislature to provide more funding for the courts, but the recent budget fell short of his request.