Judge Johnson announces retirement

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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GASTON – After nearly 30 years working in the legal field, District Court Judge Vershenia Ballance Johnson (formerly Moody) announces that she is ready to retire.

Judge Vershenia Johnson

“After a long consideration, much prayer, and consultation with family and those who have supported me over the years, I am excited to announce that I will not be seeking re-election to the position of District Court Judge in District 6 (Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton counties),” stated Judge Johnson in a press release sent Tuesday morning (Nov. 7).

“I have loved serving the people of District 6 in my various capacities in the justice system and after 12 years as an Assistant District Attorney, four years as a criminal defense and family law attorney, and 12 years as a District Court Judge, I am ready for my next phase in life.”

The Bertie County native began her legal career in 1995, working for two years as an associate attorney in New York before moving back to the Roanoke-Chowan area and Judicial District 6.

“I have dedicated my life and career to this district, raising two children to adulthood and serving daily in our court system in some capacity,” Judge Johnson stated. “I have had the privilege of working with amazing people who give their best to the citizens of this district each and every day. I appreciate their professionalism, their passion, and their dedication to our citizens.

“I grew up in this district and I am so thankful to my community at large for supporting me, for having faith in me, and for allowing me to serve them for 28 years. It has been an honor and a privilege and I am so proud to have been a small part of history in our counties,” she added.

Johnson graduated in 1992 from UNC Chapel Hill with a BA in Political Science. She then attended North Carolina Central University Law School, graduating in 1995.

Johnson worked at Skadden Arps Law Firm in New York until 1997 when she returned home to District 6B (Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties) to work with then District Attorney David H. Beard, and following his retirement, with District Attorney Valerie Asbell.

Johnson’s career continued with four years in private practice followed by four years as an Assistant District Attorney in Halifax County (then District 6A).

In 2012, Johnson took the next step up the judicial ladder when she was first elected as a District Court Judge. She was sworn in on January 1, 2013, becoming the first woman and first African American woman elected to serve as a judge in the three-county 6B Judicial District. She was subsequently elected to two additional four-year terms in the combined District 6 in 2016 and 2020.

“With nearly 30 years in law, I know that now is the right time for me to retire,” Judge Johnson said. “I have full confidence in the young brilliant minds who will follow me and who will continue to promote justice and fairness in our court system.”

Judge Johnson stressed that although she is announcing her retirement now, “I will continue to diligently and passionately preside in our district courts until the end of my term on December 31, 2024.”



About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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