Chief Justice’s Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts

To understand the impact of ACEs on children and to develop strategies for addressing adverse childhood experiences within our court system.


The mission of the Task Force is to enable Judicial Branch stakeholders to understand the impact on children of exposure to ACEs (adverse childhood experiences; adverse community environments); and to develop strategies for addressing adverse consequences within our court system.

To accomplish this mission, the Task Force will:

  • Provide judges and court administrators with practical education on the effects of ACEs;
  • Equip juvenile court officials to recognize young offenders and victims impacted by ACEs;
  • Identify existing programs and design new programs that intervene in the lives of young ACEs offenders and victims affected by ACEs to put them on a path away from the courthouse and into a successful adult life; and
  • Provide a platform from which court officials can offer feedback to educators regarding their experiences, with the hope of creating further avenues for research on this important topic.

Read about the Bolch Judicial Institute's Trauma-Informed Court program at Duke University School of Law. The program will help educate court officials on ACEs and related issues.


The Task Force members are appointed by Chief Justice Paul Newby and are representative of all stakeholder groups within our court system: judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clerks, law enforcement, private attorneys, and child-representatives, as well as academic leaders. This talented, experienced, and diverse group are supplemented with an advisory group made up of subject matter experts as well as representatives from law schools, universities, the Executive Branch, and private foundations.

Chief Justice Paul Newby   Chief Justice Paul Newby
Supreme Court of North Carolina
Judge Andrew Heath   Andrew Heath
Judge, North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) Director
Task Force Co-Chair
DA Ben David   Ben David
District Attorney
New Hanover and Pender County
Task Force Co-Chair
Seth Banks   Robert (Seth) Banks
District Attorney
Yancey County
Meredith Edwards   Meredith Edwards
Clerk of Superior Court
Alamance County
Phyllis Gorham   Phyllis Gorham
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge
New Hanover County
Johnny Jennings   Johnny Jennings
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) Chief
Mecklenburg County
Nalini Joseph   Nalini Joseph
GAL District Administrator
Iredell County
Bert Kemp   Bert Kemp
Chief Public Defender
Pitt County
David Levi   David Levi
Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies and Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute
Durham County
David Mahoney   David Mahoney
Transylvania County
Jack Marin   Jack Marin
Durham County
Quintin McGee   Quintin McGee
District Court Judge
Brunswick County
Angelica McIntyre   Angelica McIntyre
Chief District Court Judge
Robeson County
Spencer Merriweather   Spencer Merriweather
District Attorney
Mecklenburg County
Mario Perez   Mario Perez
District Court Judge
Pitt County
LaToya Powell   LaToya Powell
NCAOC Assistant Legal Counsel
Wake County
Mike Silver   Mike Silver
NCAOC Training and Services Director
Wake County
Amelia Thorn   Amelia Thorn
Bolch Judicial Institute Assistant Director of Special Projects and Articles Editor at Judicature
Durham County
Casey Viser   Charles (Casey) Viser
Superior Court Judge
Mecklenburg County
Patrick Wooden   Patrick Wooden
Bishop, Upper Room Church of God in Christ
Wake County


Quarterly meetings to be held around the state:

Friday, August 20, 2021
North Carolina Judicial Center, Raleigh

Friday, November 5, 2021

Friday, January 21, 2022

Friday, April 29, 2022