Chief Judge replacement process underway

Published 11:10 am Monday, November 8, 2010

RALEIGH – The selection of Judicial District 6B’s next Chief District Court Judge is under way.

According to the Administrative Offices of the Courts, North Carolina Chief Justice Sarah Parker has already started the process of selecting a new Chief District Court Judge to take over in January.

Current Chief District Court Judge Alfred W. Kwasikpui was defeated last week in his bid for reelection. Murfreesboro attorney Tom Jones will be seated in January as a District Court Judge, joining the honorable Thomas R.J. Newbern and the honorable W. Rob Lewis II on the local bench.

David Hoke, the Assistant Director of the Administrative Offices of the Courts, said District 6B’s new chief judge should be selected before the end of the year.

“The Chief Justice will talk to court officials in the district and will make a decision, probably before the first of the year,” he said.

Hoke said any of the three judges – Newbern, Lewis or Jones – could be selected should Chief Justice Parker decide to do so.

While any of the three could be chosen, Hoke said Justice Parker would probably take into account longevity on the bench.

“The Chief Justice will take a lot of things into consideration,” he said. “Experience on the District Court bench will be one of the facts that would be part of that consideration.”

Newbern and Lewis each have more than 15 years of experience serving Judicial District 6B.

Newbern was appointed to the bench in 1991 following the retirement of the honorable Robert Earl Williford from service while Lewis was originally elected in 1994 upon the expansion to three judicial posts in the district. Both have continuously served District 6B since taking their original oath of office.

The Chief District Court Judge handles a variety of matters in the district, including setting the calendar for each of the three judges.