Chief Justice Cheri Beasley delivered her 2019 State of the Judiciary address at the N.C. Bar Association’s annual meeting, which took place at the Biltmore Estate today. The address focused on the Judicial Branch’s commitment to access, fairness, and impartiality for the people of North Carolina.
Chief Justice Beasley provided an update on the state of the Judicial Branch and her vision for the future of North Carolina’s unified court system.
“We must remove the barriers that make it difficult, or even impossible, for our friends and neighbors to access our state courts,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “In courthouses all across North Carolina, community leaders are coming together to craft innovative solutions to enhance the prosperity, safety, and health of their communities.”
She also highlighted efforts to modernize the courts and increase access for all North Carolinians, specifically expanding access to recovery courts.
“We must bring treatment courts to every North Carolina county, because a person who lives in Jackson County or Perquimans County or Robeson County ought to have the same opportunity to receive treatment instead of jail time as a person who lives in Wake County,” said Chief Justice Beasley.
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley began her 20-year judicial career as a district court judge in Cumberland County, N.C., in 1999. After 10 years of service, she was elected to serve as an associate judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals. Her election made her the first African-American woman elected in any statewide race without first being appointed to the office.
Chief Justice Beasley served four years as an associate judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals. She was then appointed by Governor Perdue to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of North Carolina that was created by the retirement of Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson in 2012.
In the Supreme Court’s 200-year history, Chief Justice Beasley is the eighth woman and only the second African-American woman to serve on the Court. With her appointment by Governor Cooper in March, 2019, Beasley became the first African-American woman to serve as Chief Justice of the state’s highest court.
She is a graduate of Douglass College of Rutgers University and of The University of Tennessee College of Law. In 2018, she earned an L.L.M. in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law. She first practiced law in the Twelfth Judicial District’s Public Defender’s Office before receiving her initial appointment as a district court judge. Read more.