Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole received the Friend of the Court Award on March 27, 2021, for his years of service as a district and superior court judge. The award was presented during a reception at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City on March 27, and is the highest honor given by the Judicial Branch. Retired North Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda McGee made the award presentation thanking Judge Cole for his years of service on both the district and superior court benches. Judge Cole will retire on March 31 after serving a long and distinguished career.
“Judge Cole was known for his interest in the people who appeared before him,” said Judge McGee. “He especially encouraged young people to do better and be better for their own future well-being. In his courtroom, there was civility and respect for all.”
The Friend of the Court Award was established in 2001 by the Supreme Court of North Carolina. The award is given to a member of the legal community or Judicial Branch employee who has served with exemplary service and served the courts with distinction. Each award is signed by the sitting chief justice with Judge Cole’s Award having been signed by Chief Justice Paul M. Newby.
A resolution of appreciation was also presented to Judge Cole by the Perquimans Board of Commissioners and it was announced that the superior courtroom in the Perquimans County Courthouse would be named in his honor.
Judge Cole was appointed to the district court by Governor James B. Hunt in 1994. He was later appointed to the superior court bench by Governor Beverly Perdue in 2009. He was elected to a full eight-year term in 2010 and re-elected in November 2018.
Judge Cole earned his undergraduate degree in from Livingstone College. He also received a masters degree in criminal justice from North Carolina Central University and his juris doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law. He began his law career in private practice in Hertford.