Chief Justice Mark Martin has designated Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul C. Ridgeway as senior resident superior court judge, effective November 1. Judge Ridgeway will fill the role previously held by Judge Donald W. Stephens, who is retiring from the bench after a long and distinguished career.
"Judge Ridgeway has served with distinction as superior court judge, dispensing fair and impartial justice without regard to the political implications of his decisions. Experience is often the greatest teacher, and Judge Ridgeway is the longest-serving resident superior court judge in Wake County," said Chief Justice Martin. "I am confident that under his leadership the superior courts of Wake County will operate with fairness and integrity to ensure the proper administration of justice in our courts."
Judge Ridgeway received his B.S. degree ('82) and a Masters of Public Administration ('90) from North Carolina State University. Judge Ridgeway received his juris doctorate, cum laude, from Campbell University School of Law ('86), where he served as editor-in-chief of the Campbell Law Review.
As a superior court judge, Judge Ridgeway presides over felony criminal trials, civil matters where the amount in controversy exceeds $25,000, and administrative appeals arising from various state agencies. He has presided in courts in over 40 counties in North Carolina, and has been appointed by the Chief Justice to adjudicate exceptional and complex commercial and constitutional matters throughout the State.
The senior resident superior court judge has the most seniority of the superior court judges in the district and is responsible for carrying out various administrative duties. In Wake County, however, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is required by statute to designate a superior court judge as senior resident.
Serving as senior resident superior court judge in Wake County presents a unique challenge. By statute, when a facial challenge to the constitutionality of an act of the General Assembly is made in any of the 100 counties in the state of North Carolina, that issue must be transferred to Wake County Superior Court. Challenges to plans apportioning or redistricting State legislative or congressional districts are, likewise, heard exclusively by the superior court of Wake County. Due to their location in the state capital, Wake County superior court judges routinely process governor's warrants on extradition, and handle requests from state-level investigatory agencies, such as the State Bureau of Investigation and the Attorney General's office.