All Things Judicial is a podcast about the important role of the North Carolina Judicial Branch in state government. The podcast follows a bi-monthly release schedule with each new episode available for download every other Wednesday beginning February 10, 2021.
On this podcast you’ll hear interviews from recognizable figures in our judicial communities and learn about topics you may not have realized were related to what we do every day – human trafficking prevention, civics education, and the increased modernization of our courts. We think we’ve found a podcast format that really works with rotating guest hosts that will keep each episode fresh and interesting to our listeners.
All Things Judicial is available on all podcast platforms or below on NCcourts.gov.
Episode 16 – This episode of All Things Judicial celebrates Constitution Day (September 17) with a visit to the North Carolina State Archives and a viewing of some of North Carolina's most precious historic documents. Division of Archives and Records Director Sarah Koonts led the tour where she shared original colonial court records. Koonts then opened the State Archive's vault for the inspection of some of North Carolina's national treasures, including an original copy of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. Later in the episode, Chief Justice Paul Newby detailed an account of the theft of this copy of the Bill of Rights from the North Carolina State Capitol during the American Civil War, and his participation in an FBI sting operation that recovered it in 2003.
"The Bill of Rights is so beautiful and has such a great story about its theft and recovery," said Sarah Koonts. "I always feel special when I look at that document."
Sarah Koonts, Director of the Division of Archives and Records, is North Carolina's state archivist and deputy secretary at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. She became North Carolina's State Archivist in 2012. Working with a staff of nearly 70, Koonts is responsible for the statewide archives and records management programs operated by the division.
Chief Justice Paul Newby, the 30th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, first was elected to the Supreme Court as Associate Justice in 2004 and was elevated to the highest judicial office in North Carolina in the 2020 election.
In 1985, Chief Justice Newby was appointed as an assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh, where he served for over 19 years. During this time, he played an integral role in conducting the undercover sting operation that recovered North Carolina’s original copy of the Bill of Rights, stolen in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Episode 15 – This episode of All Things Judicial features excerpts from an interview with former Chief Justice Rhoda Billings. The interview was conducted in 2016 by former president of the North Carolina Bar Association, John R. “Buddy” Wester, as part of the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism's Historical Video Series. During her career, Chief Justice Billings served as a district court judge, associate justice, and the 22nd chief justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. She was the second woman associate justice and second woman to serve as chief justice. In addition, she is the only person to have served as president of the North Carolina Bar Association and chief justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
EPISODE INTERVIEWER AND GUESTS
Former Chief Justice Rhoda Billings is a native of Wilkesboro and was the only woman in the class of 1966 at Wake Forest University School of Law, where she graduated first in her class. She practiced law with her husband, Don Billings, from 1966 to 1968, and served as a U.S. Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Trustee from 1966 to 1967. When the district court system was established in North Carolina, Chief Justice Billings was one of five successful candidates and the only woman elected to serve in Forsyth County. She joined the law school faculty at Wake Forest in 1973, serving one year as an assistant professor of law and as an associate professor of law from 1974 to 1979. She attained the rank of professor in 1980.
While on leave from the law school from August 1984 to January 1987, Chief Justice Billings practiced with Billings, Burns and Wells, chaired the North Carolina Parole Commission, and served on the Supreme Court in 1985 to 1986. She also served as a member of the State Judicial Council, an advisory and oversight body for the North Carolina Judicial Branch that helps to study and monitor the operations of the court system and identify areas for improvement.
Chief Justice Billings also served extensively with the North Carolina Bar Association throughout her distinguished career. She became the first woman to serve as its president and is the second woman to receive the Judge John J. Parker Award.
John R. "Buddy" Wester is a litigator at the Charlotte law firm of Robinson Bradshaw. Mr. Wester has also served as president of the North Carolina Bar Association and as a member of the North Carolina Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.
Episode 14 – This episode of All Things Judicial features part two of a three-part series on the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. Part two is hosted by Associate Director Beth Tanner and focuses on the Commission's victim services. This episode's guests are Robin Colbert, Katie Monroe, and Emma Paul. Part three of this series will be released in September and will focus on the work and roles of the Commission staff. "We have really worked hard on making sure we are focusing on the victim's experiences and making sure they have a space to be heard and are informed about the process when they should be," Beth Tanner said on the podcast.
EPISODE HOST AND GUESTS
Beth Tanner, Associate Director, North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission
Robin Colbert, Associate Director, North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault; and Commissioner, North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission
Katie Monroe, Executive Director, Healing Justice
Emma Paul, Victim Services Coordinator, North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission
Episode 13 – This episode of All Things Judicial focuses on civics education in North Carolina. It begins with interviews with social studies teachers about their experiences with teaching students about our systems of government. Later in the episode, you will hear from Chief Justice Paul Newby and Associate Justice Samuel Ervin IV who led the Supreme Court of North Carolina's civics education outreach in 2019. Listeners will also learn about the Judicial Branch's free civics education materials and Speakers Bureau that are available to educators and others who are interested in making civics education more accessible in North Carolina.
"I hope to inspire students to dig deeper to see that the American experiment is payed forward one generation at a time," Chief Justice Newby said on the podcast. "It will be up to them to look at who we are as a people and make the determination how to shape us."
Episode 12 - This episode features part one of a three-part series on the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. It examines the purpose of the Commission, gives an overview of its structure, and commissioners share why they volunteered for their roles and detail the most interesting cases of their tenures. Parts two and three will be released in August and September and will focus on the Commission's victim advocates and the Commission staff.
"Despite our best efforts, mistakes are made. There has to be a system that can correct these mistakes because if there isn't, everybody loses," Commissioner Boswell said on the podcast. "I wish everyone understood the importance of the Commission and all the factors that come into play."
EPISODE HOST AND GUESTS
- Lindsey Guice Smith, Executive Director of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission
- Johnson Britt, Criminal Defense Lawyer and Commissioner on the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission
- Rick Glazier, Executive Director of the North Carolina Justice Center and Commissioner on the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission
- John Boswell, Chief Operating Officer of Zoe Empowers and Commissioner on the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission
Episode 11 – July is Juror Appreciation Month in North Carolina and the most recent episode of All Things Judicial focuses on jury service. The host and guests explore the history of jury service, what to expect when asked to serve on a jury, and dispel common myths about jury service. In the second segment of the episode, All Things Judicial conducts interviews with average North Carolinians about their thoughts on jury service.
"Jury service is a vital part of our country," Wake County Clerk of Superior Court Blair Williams said on the podcast. "Jurors play a part in our judicial system and that is what makes us unique in this world."
- Blair Williams, Wake County Clerk of Superior Court
- Alicia Blanco, Wake County Deputy Clerk
- Rosie Rijo Gonzalez, Wake County Assistant Clerk
- DeShield Greene, Court Management Specialist for the North Carolina Judicial Branch
Episode 10 – This episode of All Things Judicial focuses on ACEs-informed courts. ACEs refers to adverse childhood experiences of some children who appear in North Carolina courts. In May, the Judicial Branch formed the Chief Justice's Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts to examine the impact of ACEs on children and develop strategies for addressing adverse childhood experiences within our court system. This episode's guests include NCAOC Director Judge Andrew Heath, District Attorney Ben David, Bolch Judicial Institute Assistant Director of Special Projects Amelia Thorn, and Court Management Specialist Lori Cole.
"We can prevent crime, not just respond to it," District Attorney Ben David said on the podcast. "If we all get on the same page with what it truly means to be trauma informed, to be ACEs informed, we know the path forward and we need to act now."
Judge Andrew Heath, Director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, and Co-Chair of the Chief Justice's Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts.
Ben David, District Attorney for New Hanover and Pender Counties, and Co-Chair of the Chief Justice's Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts.
Amelia Thorn, Bolch Judicial Institute Assistant Director of Special Projects, Articles Editor at Judicature, and Member of the Chief Justice's Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts.
Lori C. Cole, Court Management Specialist for the North Carolina Judicial Branch.
Episode 9 – This episode of All Things Judicial features excerpts from an interview with former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr. The interview was conducted in 2006 by former Associate Justice Willis Whichard as part of the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism's Historical Video Series. Chief Justice Lake served as a superior court judge, associate justice, and chief justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. In 2002, Lake established the Criminal Justice Study Commission to review factors that may contribute to wrongful convictions in North Carolina. The study commission recommended reforms which led to the creation of the Innocence Inquiry Commission in 2006.
"We have the best criminal justice system in the world, but that doesn't mean we can't make it better," former Chief Justice Lake said in the podcast. "It is incumbent on members of the legal profession to take that leadership role, step into that public service arena, accept that responsibility, and teach and guide and lead our people in the right direction pursuant to the blueprint laid out in our Constitution."
Interviewer and Guest
- Former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr. was appointed as a superior court judge in 1985. Lake was appointed as an associate justice on the Supreme Court of North Carolina in 1992, but was defeated for election that same year. He was elected as an associate justice in 1994 and elected as the court's chief justice in 2000. During his tenure as chief justice, Lake established a study commission which led to the creation of the Innocence Inquiry Commission, the first of its kind in United States. Lake served as chief justice until his retirement in 2006 and passed away in 2019.
- Former Associate Justice Willis Whichard was appointed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 1980 where he served until he became an associate justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina in 1986. He retired from the court in 1998 and served as dean of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University until 2006. After that, Whichard has worked as an attorney in private practice.
Episode 8 – In this episode, All Things Judicial takes a deep-dive into the history, story, and controversy surrounding this event. Guests are Chief Justice Paul Newby who shares the origins of our rights and liberties contained in America's founding documents, and Robert Ryals who takes listeners on a tour of Charlotte's Liberty Walk to visit historical locations around the Queen City. In addition, author and attorney Scott Syfret discusses the controversy surrounding the declaration and its impact on North Carolina and the city of Charlotte over the years.
"The 'shot heard round the world' is the fact that our rights don't come from King George. Our rights come from a higher source," Chief Justice Newby said in the podcast. "That's the beauty of our system where we say our rights come from God, our creator, that all are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness."
- Chief Justice Paul Newby is the 30th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Chief Justice Newby was first elected to the Supreme Court as associate justice in 2004 and was elevated to the highest judicial office in North Carolina in the 2020 election. In addition to his service on the court, he is an adjunct professor at Campbell University School of Law, where he teaches courses on state constitutional law and appellate practice. He is the co-author of The North Carolina State Constitution with History and Commentary (2nd ed. 2013) with Professor John V. Orth of the University of North Carolina School of Law.
- Robert Ryals is a docent for the Mecklenburg Historical Association. He specializes in creating and delivering interpretive talks and educational programs for historical venues and organizations throughout metropolitan Charlotte. Tours of the Liberty Walk are available through the the Mecklenburg Historical Association.
- Scott Syfert is a corporate attorney in Charlotte and cofounder of the May 20th Society, which is dedicated to commemorating the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. He is the author of the books, The First American Declaration of Independence? and Eminent Charlotteans.
Episode 7 – This episode focuses on North Carolina's recovery courts which handle chemically dependent adults and juveniles in criminal court. Recovery courts also serve juveniles with abuse, neglect, and dependency cases, veterans, and people with mental health issues who find themselves in court. The program offers individualized treatment plans which include counseling, supervision, drug testing, sanctions, and incentives for meeting recovery goals.
The host for this episode is Yolonda M. Woodhouse, court management specialist for Court Programs. Guests are: (in order of appearance) Janeanne Gonzales, treatment court administrator for the Mecklenburg County Recovery Courts, Special Superior Court Judge J. Stanly Carmical, the original judge for the Robeson County treatment court, and District Court Judge James H. Faison who serves in New Hanover County's recovery courts.
“Recovery courts are a program that truly does save lives. We can help that person regain their lives, and then as a result of that, they are able to reconnect with family,” Judge James Faison said in the podcast. “It really doesn't get any better than that.”
Host: Yolonda Woodhouse, court management specialist for Court Programs
Guests (in order of appearance):
- Janeanne Gonzales, treatment court administrator for the Mecklenburg County Recovery Courts
- Special Superior Court Judge J. Stanly Carmical, the original judge for the Robeson County treatment court
- District Court Judge James H. Faison who serves in New Hanover County's recovery courts
Episode 6 – In this episode, Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism Executive Director Mel Wright discusses and shares excerpts from a 2017 interview with former North Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge Gerald Arnold. Judge Arnold shares his experience arguing before the original members of the Court of Appeals, joining that Court as a judge then later as chief judge. Judge Arnold was instrumental in a restoration project in the 1990s that restored and preserved the historical value of the Court of Appeals' courtroom ceiling. In addition to providing insight into the Court's history, Judge Arnold gives time-tested professionalism advice for lawyers.
“There is nothing more important than the concept of professionalism,” Judge Arnold said. “Treat another lawyer the way you want that lawyer to treat you. It's the golden rule and your momma taught you that.”
Host: Chris Mears, North Carolina Judicial Branch Communications Office
- Mel Wright, Executive Director of the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism
- Former Chief Judge Gerald Arnold, North Carolina Court of Appeals (pre-recorded interview)
Bonus Episode – In this bonus episode released on the 245th anniversary of the Halifax Resolves, we take listeners on a trip to the Historic District in Halifax, North Carolina, to speak with Frank McMahon, a historic interpreter with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Frank shares what life was like in 18th/19th century Halifax, North Carolina. Then, Chief Justice Paul Newby joins us in studio for a discussion about the Halifax Resolves and the events leading up to its adoption on April 12, 1776.
“We were the first state to authorize our delegates to vote for independence,” said Chief Justice Newby in the podcast. “As the Halifax Resolves authorized our delegates to vote for freedom, it implicitly said that we are going to form our own constitution.”
Host: Camden Roessler, North Carolina Judicial Branch Communications Office
Guests (in order of appearance):
- Chris Mears, North Carolina Judicial Branch Communications Office
- Frank McMahon, Historical Interpreter, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
- Chief Justice Paul Newby, Supreme Court of North Carolina
Episode 5 – This episode features the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program which equips community volunteers to serve abused and neglected children by advocating for their best interests in court. This episode's guests are GAL volunteers who share why they decided to volunteer, their experiences in the program, and the joys and challenges of representing children in the court system.
“Children deserve to be protected. Children deserve to be nurtured and to be cared-for,” GAL advocate Julia Lee said in the podcast. “Yes, it can be really, really hard. It can also be really, really sad, but it can be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.”
Host: Bwana Bomani, Recruitment and Retention Specialist with the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem program.
- Ellis Hankins, 5 years of service as a GAL advocate.
- Julia Lee, 10 years of service as a GAL advocate.
- Luvenia Williams, 4 years of service as a GAL advocate.
- Michelle Hillison, 3 years of service as a GAL advocate.
Episode 4 – This episode celebrates women’s history in the Judicial Branch and is hosted by former North Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda McGee. Guests include current Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna Stroud, Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman, and Court of Appeals Judge Valerie Zachary. They discuss their paths to the bench, the people who influenced their lives, and organizations that they found particularly meaningful throughout their careers.
“When I came there I was the only woman on the Court. Our numbers continued to grow and within a few years we had our first all woman panel, and a few years after that, we actually had a majority of women on the Court of Appeals,” former Chief Judge McGee said in the podcast. “It's been great to be able to have one another to be able to talk with, be able to share stories with, and be encouraged by.”
Host: former Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda McGee
- Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna Stroud
- Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman
- Court of Appeals Judge Valerie Zachary
Bonus Episode – This episode begins with Supreme Court of North Carolina Clerk of Court Amy Funderburk who shares her impression of the Court’s grand courtroom, and identified historic courtroom artifacts that are hidden in plain sight. In addition, Supreme Court of North Carolina Chief Justice Paul Newby introduces excerpts from remarks given by North Carolina’s newest appellate court judges during their investiture ceremonies held earlier this year.
The Supreme Court investiture excerpts included in this podcast episode are from Chief Justice Newby, Associate Justice Phil Berger Jr., and Associate Justice Tamara Patterson Barringer. They were formally installed at the Supreme Court of North Carolina on January 6, 2021. The audio was taken from the virtual swearing-in ceremony that was streamed online for guests, the media, and the public.
The excerpts for the North Carolina Court of Appeals investiture ceremonies are from Judge Jeffery K. Carpenter, Judge April C. Wood, Judge Fred Gore, Judge Jefferson Griffin, and Judge Darren Jackson. They were formally installed at the North Carolina Court of Appeals on January 14, 2021, and as with the Supreme Court excerpts, the audio was taken from the virtual swearing-in ceremony streamed online.
Episode 3 – Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism Executive Director Mel Wright welcomes Kinston attorney James S. “Jimbo” Perry to All Things Judicial. They discuss Jimbo’s career as an attorney and the calculus that many lawyers make between prioritizing work over people and relationships in their lives. Jimbo shared his personal experiences and desires to bring about change in his community through acts of service.
“One of the struggles that we as attorneys have is we sometimes work so hard that we don’t take care of the things that are most important,” Jimbo Perry said during the podcast. “The way to have joy and happiness is not by having and getting but by giving and serving.”
Host: Mel Wright, Executive Director of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism
- Jimbo Perry, Kinston Attorney
Episode 2 – In this episode hosted by Supreme Court of North Carolina Associate Justice Michael Morgan and entitled “Black History Made Me Who I Am,” Justice Morgan welcomed retired Court of Appeals Judge Wanda Bryant and current Court of Appeals Judge Fred Gore. They discussed their journeys from “birth to bench,” mentors who influenced their lives, and advice they would like to share with the next generation of African Americans entering the legal profession. Justice Morgan and Judge Bryant shared their personal experiences of being the first African American children integrated into their local elementary schools. Judge Gore shared his deep commitment to using his judgeship as a positive influence on the youth in his community.
Host: Supreme Court of North Carolina Associate Justice Michael Morgan
Episode 1 - In its inaugural episode, All Things Judicial highlights the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission and its mission to prevent human trafficking in North Carolina. Hosted by North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission Executive Director Christine Long, the episode focuses on the role of the Commission and delves into the grim realities of human trafficking in our state, signs to look for, and how to prevent this horrific crime.
- Jennifer Haigwood, Chair, North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission
- Deana Joy, Executive Director, Children's Advocacy Centers of North Carolina
- Jasmine McGhee, Special Deputy Attorney General and Director of the Public Protection Section, North Carolina Department of Justice
- Angelica Wind, Executive Director of Our VOICE, Inc.
Trailer - In this trailer for the new podcast All Things Judicial, Chief Justice Paul Newby shares information about the podcast and his vision for the North Carolina Judicial Branch.
Do you have feedback or episode ideas? Please reach out to AllThingsJudicial@nccourts.org.