Carter saluted for 20 years of service

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WINDSOR – Lawrence Carter Jr. has spent two decades serving the people of Bertie County.

Thursday morning at the Bertie County Courthouse, Chief District Court Judge Alfred W. Kwasikpui honored Carter for his 20 years of service.

“I have the honor of supervising magistrates in Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties as part of my job,” Judge Kwasikpui said. “It has been a pleasure to supervise those magistrates, especially the one we are honoring today.

“Mr. Carter is very dedicated to his job,” Judge Kwasikpui continued. “He enjoys the respect of law enforcement, citizens and court personnel.”

Carter began his career thanks to an appointment from Bertie County Clerk of Superior Court John C.P. Tyler.

“I was working at R&W Chevrolet at the time,” Carter said. “I took almost a year to make up my mind.”

Carter, who became the second African-American magistrate in the county, took a pay cut to accept the position, but said he had never regretted it.

“I’ve just enjoyed it,” he said. “I don’t plan on retiring any time soon.”

There are two parts of the job Carter said had brought him the most enjoyment – small claims court and marriages.

“Marrying people has been the most interesting part of the job,” he said. “I remember one couple that I married and they left for Nags Head. The man came back the next day wanting an annulment because his wife left him the night they got married.”

He said he also enjoyed presiding over Small Claims Court which is something he does about twice a month.

“That is enjoyable,” he said.

As for his most interesting case, Carter said he found a person guilty of negligence in an accident when a person driving a tractor ran into a truck.

Another part of the job Carter enjoyed was working the “Bat Mobile” that was set up in Bertie County for Driving While Impaired charges. He said he spent 12 straight hours working, but liked the experience.

He said the only drawback of his profession is the number of people he sees multiple times as a magistrate.

“Most are repeaters,” he said. “Most of the ones that come before me, you see them again and again.”

Despite the number of those who offend again, Carter said he believes the system does work but that it sometimes takes time.

In 20 years, Carter has been the magistrate in six murder cases in Bertie County, including one the year he began his job.

Becoming a magistrate required a two-week training course. He also has to have 12 hours of training each year to continue in that role.

As for changes, Carter said the biggest difference were the deputies who serve in Bertie County. He said he believes the current deputies do a great job.

“They bring people in more,” he said, “especially when it comes to domestic violence.”

He said the other change that has been effective is technology.

“I remember when we used to do drug busts and we had to type out 100 warrants and all we had was a typewriter,” he said. “It took three or four hours just to type them.”

Carter said on one drug bust he worked from 6 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. the next day.

Carter is a resident of Windsor where he lives with Hilda, his wife of 34 years.