-The following is part of WIZS’s continuing coverage of candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot.
As a candidate for a seat on the NC Court of Appeals, Carolyn Thompson said it is her considerable experience as a trial attorney and as a district court judge that will serve her well if she is elected in the November 8 elections.
Thompson has 26 years’ experience as an attorney and judge, and she has advocated for victims of domestic violence and abuse during that time. She began practicing law in Vance County in 1996 and was a district court judge serving Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties from 2009 to 2018. In 2018, Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Thompson to fill the unexpired term of a retiring Superior Court judge. She was defeated in her bid for the judgeship later in 2018, and now has set her sights on a statewide race.
Thompson is running for Seat 8 on the 15-member court of appeals. Judges sit in panels of three judges each, she told John C. Rose on Tuesday’s TownTalk. “If you’re not getting a fair trial or feel like the court didn’t apply the law correctly,” she explained, the case would get sent to the court of appeals for a ruling.
The appeals court sets precedents for lower courts, “courts I’ve already presided over,” Thompson noted.
She said she is the only candidate with prior judicial and trial experience.
Judges are charged with being impartial, and although Thompson is running on the Democratic ticket, she said party affiliation has no bearing on her role as a judge. “I am on the ballot with a party affiliation because that’s the current law,” she said.
“At no point have I ever asked a crying mother…grieving the loss of a child…or families who are broken because of a marital dispute…so – what’s your party affiliation?” she said.
“When you come before me,” Thompson added, “I will deal with you straight up.”
Thompson, a licensed and ordained minister, said she is committed to running a clean campaign, focusing on what she can bring to the job with “no disparaging remarks because we are all officers of the court.”
She is involved with Families Living Violence Free and shares her knowledge and experiences working with domestic violence victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse. She said it is important for the community to understand “what domestic violence is, what it looks like and…what the law says about it,” Thompson said.
She said in the thousands of clients she has represented or had in her courtroom as a judge, there have been many heart-wrenching stories that stay with her today. But not all the memories are bad, Thompson said. She recalled the note she received from a young person now in military service who says “thank you” for caring all those years ago when life had been unkind. Or the victim of domestic violence who said Thompson “gave me a second look when no one else did.”
It’s good memories like those that balance out the bad, Thompson said.
Early voting begins Oct. 20. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.