Superior Court Judges
Superior Court judges are attorneys who are elected for each district for eight-year terms. Superior Court judges must reside in the district in which they are elected, but rotate from one district to another within their division.

Special and emergency judges may also be assigned to particular judicial districts by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. The Senior Resident Superior Court Judge has the most seniority of the Superior Court judges in the district and is responsible for carrying out various administrative duties.

The Superior Court has jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases. The types of cases that are heard in superior court often require jury trials and deal with various action involving personal injury cases, medical malpractice, contract disputes, and actions in which the amount in controversy exceeds $25,000. There are a few special categories of cases, such as those involving appeals from administrative agencies and constitutional issues, are tried in Superior Court. In criminal cases, the Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all felonies and over misdemeanors appealed from a conviction in District Court.

Superior Court Judges rotate within divisions in North Carolina. There are three resident superior court judges in the Fifth District which encompasses Pender and New Hanover Counties. The three resident superior court judges are as follows:

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge
      Jay D. Hockenbury
      Address: New Hanover County Judicial Building
                        W. Allen Cobb Judicial Annex, Suite 341,
                        316 Princess Street,
                        Wilmington, NC 28401

Resident Superior Court Judge
      Phyllis M. Gorham

Resident Superior Court Judge
      R. Kent Harrell
      Address: Pender County Courthouse
                        Post Office Box 310
                        Burgaw, North Carolina 28425

Special Superior Court Judges
      Ebern T. Watson
      Address: W. Allen Cobb Judicial Annex

Superior Court Trial Court Coordinator
      Valerie Lee Jordan
      Office: (910) 772-6616
      Fax: (910) 772-6617