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Buckner elected president of N.C. District Judges' Association
News image[Asheville] - The N.C. Association of District Court Judges elected Orange-Chatham Judge Joe Buckner as its president during the association’s October meeting.

The district court judges’ association provides leadership by advocating for better courts, educating judges about legislative changes that affect the justice system and providing information to legislative committees and other statewide justice organizations.

In addition to overseeing these efforts, Buckner will assist continuing judicial education of district court judges with the help from the University of North Carolina's School of Government, asking other district court judges to serve on boards and commissions that deal with criminal justice and civil litigation across the state, promoting professionalism in the courts, advising the Chief Justice and the Administrative Office of the Courts about what the courts need to effectively serve their communities, and recommending judges for appointment to committees.

The association is led by a Board of Governors representing trial judges from all eight trial divisions in North Carolina. The president is charged to serve as the association’s liaison with those who wish to improve the court system.

“Our ongoing goal is to make the North Carolina District Courts perform at the highest professional level and to be responsive and effective in all 100 counties, “ Buckner said. “The people who need access to justice and legal relief and the state and local resources that fund the affected areas deserve the best judges we can give them to meet our constitutional, statutory and community mandates.”

The district court of North Carolina is the broadest court of general jurisdiction in the United States. North Carolina’s district courts have exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving divorce, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support and property distribution, as well as civil family violence, cases involving the abuse and neglect of children, juvenile delinquency and involuntary commitments.

The district court has concurrent jurisdiction in bench and jury civil matters and some felony pleas, and initial jurisdiction in criminal misdemeanors including driving while impaired cases. That means more than 97 percent of all criminal matters brought to court in North Carolina are resolved in district court.

“The North Carolina Association of District Court Judges is going to be a full partner with anyone committed to ensuring our courts are the best in the country,” Buckner said.

His term lasts one year, after which he will serve as immediate past-president in the organization. Buckner follows Judge William “Mac” Cameron III of Sampson County who will serve as immediate past president for the coming year and is joined by Chief Judge Joseph E. Turner of Guilford County, who will serve as vice president and Chief Judge Robert Brady of Catawba, who will serve as Secretary.

Buckner has appointed Chief Judge William Farris of Wilson County to serve as treasurer.

Buckner has been the Chief District Judge for Orange and Chatham Counties since 1996. He was appointed as Chief by former Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, continued his service under Chief Justices Henry Frye, I. Beverly Lake and current Chief Justice Sarah Parker. He was first elected district court judge in 1994. Before beginning his service on the bench, he was a partner at the firm of Epting and Hackney in Chapel Hill.

He is a past president of the N.C. Conference of Chief District Court Judges and is the Chair of the Crime Victim’s Services Committee for the Governor’s Crime Commission.
Publish Date: 10/25/2007
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