Chief Justice Cheri Beasley delivered her 2020 State of the Judiciary address today. The address focused on the Judicial Branch’s response to COVID-19, the modernization of our courts through the eCourts initiative, and the Judicial Branch's commitment to access to justice, fairness, and impartiality for the people of North Carolina.
The address was given during the North Carolina Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, which was virtual this year to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has required us to think creatively about improving the administration of justice in ways that even a year ago seemed impossible,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “The demonstrations happening in North Carolina and across the nation have given us the opportunity to confront disparities in our justice system and ensure that the people of this state have trust and confidence that courts are a place where every case is decided based on principles of law and justice free from bias.”
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has spent more than 20 years dedicated to the rule of law. She began her judicial career as a district court judge in Cumberland County, where she served for a decade before being elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2008. She served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court of North Carolina for seven years before being appointed by Governor Roy Cooper last year to lead the Supreme Court and North Carolina's third branch of government, the Judicial Branch. She is the first African-American woman in the Supreme Court’s 200-year history to serve as Chief Justice.
Chief Justice Beasley has spent her entire career advocating for courts that are independent, fair, and accessible, and that serve every person with dignity and respect. As Chief Justice, she is advocating for a court system that not only solves legal disputes, but also helps people better their lives. By engaging local judges, educators and law enforcement, she is helping to reform discipline in our schools and keeping kids out of our courtrooms. She is committed to expanding specialized treatment courts that better serve the needs of North Carolina’s children and families. She is also working to leverage the power of technology to make sure our courts are efficient and accessible.
She has lectured extensively to promote the administration of justice, the importance of an independent judiciary, and fair judicial selection. She is active in her community through leadership in her church, First Baptist of Raleigh, her support of hunger relief efforts, and her mentoring of students from elementary school to law school. She is a graduate of Douglass College of Rutgers University, the University of Tennessee College of Law, and Duke University School of Law where she obtained her LL.M. She and her husband, Curtis Owens, are the proud parents of twin sons, Thomas and Matthew.