Public defender nominations submitted; no appointment yet

JUDICIAL DISTRICT 29A – There is no public announcement of the appointment of a public defender yet. The district bar met almost almost a month ago to submit two names for consideration for the newly created district Public Defender (PD).  A third name was to be submitted by the Indigent Defense Services(IDS). The Public Defender office is expected to be up and running by Dec. 1, 2018.

Our inquiries to IDS resulted in an email communication that the “AOC Director relayed District Judge Laura Powell’s name to the SRSJ for District 29A on or around August 17.

Judge Powell is currently running for her district court seat unopposed.

The redacted email follows:

Pursuant to G.S. 7A-498.7(b), as amended by Section 18A.2(a) of Session Law 2018-19, the Administrative Officer of the Courts (AOC Director), after consulting Indigent Defense Services (IDS), is supposed to submit name(s) to the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge (SRSJ) for consideration for Chief Public Defender.

AOC Director, Marion Warren, has consulted with the IDS Executive Director, Thomas Maher, and the AOC Director relayed District Judge Laura Powell’s name to the SRSJ for District 29A on or around August 17.

IDS cannot comment on any perceived delay in appointing the Chief Public Defender, as, at this point, it is a local consideration.

The assistant of Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, Tommy Davis, replied to our request for comment that the judge could not comment on this matter.

In keeping with the requirements, expectations, and spirit of the Judicial Standards requiring a Judge to abstain from making public comments about matters before the Court, Judge Davis will not be responding to the questions you raised in your email of August 14, 2018.

We do, however, appreciate your interest in this matter.

Cindy Wharton

Superior Court Judicial Assistant