Chief Justice Mark Martin delivered his 2017 State of the Judiciary address at the North Carolina Bar Association's annual meeting, which took place in Asheville on Saturday, June 24. The address featured the Judicial Branch's commitment to justice for all for the people of North Carolina.
"Our society is experiencing rapid growth. Our State, our court system and our judicial officials are working hard to maintain the highest standards of access, fairness and impartiality," said Chief Justice Martin. "The Judicial Branch has made great progress in its pursuit of justice for all. And now it is positioned to pursue more reforms that will help our court system meet 21st century demands and expectations."
Chief Justice Martin highlighted the work of the N.C. Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice and its final report, which contains recommendations for improving the administration of justice and a modern court system. Many of the Commission's recommendations are within the Judicial Branch's authority and are already being implemented, while others will require legislative action.
Among the recommendations being implemented are juvenile reinvestment to raise the age, civic education and an active speakers bureau, eCourts technology for court access and services online, and reform of case management practices to improve efficiencies.
"The rule of law, and the concept of justice for all, are what allow our society to be truly free," said Chief Justice Martin.
To ensure that the people of North Carolina have a qualified and independent judiciary, Chief Justice Martin called for a referendum on how judges are selected. He recommended replacing partisan elections with a merit selection process.
Read the State of the Judiciary address transcript
View the State of the Judiciary address video
Chief Justice Mark Martin is the 28th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. He was elected to an eight-year term that started on January 1, 2015, and he has served on the Supreme Court since January 1999. Chief Justice Martin is dedicated to strengthening and advancing the rule of law. He has authored more than 400 appellate decisions during his 20-plus-year tenure on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. He is the only sitting judge in North Carolina who has served on the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Superior Court. Chief Justice Martin earned his juris doctor (J.D.) from the University of North Carolina School of Law, after receiving his undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University. He also has a master of laws degree (LL.M.) in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia. Read more.