District Court Judges are attorneys elected for each district in non-partisan elections for four years and must reside in the district in which they are elected. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina designates one of the judges as Chief District Court Judge, and this judge has administrative duties, including assigning the judges to sessions of court.
Both civil and criminal cases are heard in District Court. The civil district court handles matters dealing with domestic issues such as custody, child support, equitable distribution and divorce actions. For the trial of all civil actions in which the amount in controversy is $25,000 or less district court would be the proper division. Domestic relations cases involving alimony, child support, child custody, divorce, equitable distribution, and juvenile matters are also heard in this court. In criminal cases, District Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over misdemeanor cases and most traffic offenses.
The Honorable David B. Brantley has served as a District Court Judge since 1996 to present. Judge Brantley has been certified to hear juvenile matters. Prior to being elected as a District Court Judge, he served as the Clerk of Superior Court for Wayne County from 1984 to 1996. Judge Brantley received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University in 1974 and his Juris Doctorate degree from Wake Forest University in 1977.
The Honorable Charles P. Gaylor, III was elected as a District Court Judge in November 2008 and was sworn-in January 2009. He received his double AB degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1971 and his Juris Doctorate degree from Widener University in 1975. Prior to becoming a District Court Judge, he practiced law in Goldsboro for 31 years.
The Honorable Elizabeth A. Heath has served as a District Court Judge since December 2002. Judge Heath received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1982, and her Juris Doctorate from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law in 1991. Prior to being elected as a District Court Judge, Judge Heath was a partner in the law firm of Wallace, Morris and Barwick from 1991 until November 2002.
The Honorable Ericka Y. James has served as a District Court Judge since January 1, 2013. Judge James received her Bachelor of Science degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 1995, and her Juris Doctorate from Regent University School of Law in 2001. Prior to being elected as a District Court Judge, Judge James served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Eighth Prosecutorial District from 2010 to 2012, the First Prosecutorial District from 2008 to 2012, and was in private practice prior to serving in the District Attorney's office. Prior to private practice, Judge James served as an Assistant Public Defender in Norfolk, Virginia, from 2001 to 2004.
The Honorable R. Les Turner has served as a District Court Judge since August 2000. Judge Turner received his Bachelor of Science degree from East Carolina University in 1985 and his Juris Doctorate from Campbell Law School in 1994. Prior to being elected as a District Court Judge, Judge Turner served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Eighth Prosecutorial District from 1995 to 2000, and he was in private practice prior to serving in the District Attorney's office.