Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Here Comes the Judge! Judicial Candidates in District 20-A (Anson, Richmond, Stanly)

Here Comes the Judge!
Judicial Candidates in NC District 20-A (Anson, Richmond & Stanly Counties)
By Wayne Goodwin
26 February 2008

All too often our candidates for the judicial branch are not highlighted as much as they deserve.

That is a sad fact even though it is our judges who interpret our laws and help protect our constitutional and statutory rights. Election or selection of the appropriate persons for the bench determines the outcome of the ongoing battle to protect individual and collective life, liberty and property.

Though our Tar Heel judicial races are now non-partisan, Wayne’s World now takes this opportunity to shine the light on those brave, dedicated professionals who have put their names forward on the ballot this year in Judicial District 20-A.

In alphabetical order, the candidates so far are:


John Daniel

He is a long-time and well-respected attorney in private practice in Richmond and surrounding counties. A 1982 Campbell University School of Law alumnus, he has represented clients before the District and Superior Courts, the state Industrial Commission, and the Social Security Administration. His wife is the Assistant Clerk of Court in Richmond County and is highly-regarded on the gospel music circuit. They live in Rockingham, the seat of Richmond County. John “Johnny” Daniel is active in church and other ministries, and served in the U.S. Army, from which he received an honorable discharge. His law firm is located on U.S. 74 in Rockingham. Daniel is a member of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Tim Rodgers
Tim Rodgers currently serves as the hard-working Chief Assistant District Attorney in the overlaying prosecutorial district, reporting directly to District Attorney Michael Parker. Prior to his elevation to that post, he served seven years as an assistant district attorney. Rodgers earned his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 1998. Rodgers is an active speaker and teacher on matters regarding the courts. Those matters include domestic violence, criminal justice, and the courts process in general. Tim Rodgers, his wife, and family live in Albemarle, the county seat of Stanly County.

Amanda (Amy) Wilson
Amy Wilson is the daughter of Cathy Wilson, the former Clerk of Superior Court in Richmond County. Amy has represented clients for many years in both District Court and Superior Court, civil and criminal. She graduated from the NC Central University School of Law in 1999. Thereafter she clerked the summer for a judge (Honorable Jack Cozort) on the NC Court of Appeals, and has served as an attorney advocate – or guardian ad litem - for abused and neglected children.
Amanda (Amy) Wilson is the immediate past president of the Richmond County Democratic Women and past president of the Richmond County Jaycees. She, her husband, and child live in Rockingham. Before attending law school, Amy Wilson was a sixth grade teacher in the public schools.


Kevin Bridges

Judge Bridges is a Morehead Scholar and, on information and belief, is the first African-American to serve on the local district court bench here. He earned his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1990. His district court seat is not up for election at this time, so if he is not elevated to the Superior Court in this election then he will continue to serve on the District Court bench for all three counties. Active in the Eighth Congressional District Black Caucus and the NAACP, Judge Bridges is also a founding member of the Stanly County One-on-One Program for At-Risk Children. Governor Hunt appointed him to the bench in March 1997; he has been elected three times since. Judge Bridges, his wife, and his children live in Albemarle, the seat of Stanly County.

Charles Collini
Charles “Charlie” Collini is a long-time litigator and member of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been omnipresent in the local courts for many years. He earned his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1974 before serving as an assistant district attorney for six years. Moreover, he served as Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of the U.S. District Court here in North Carolina. Collini is the past president of the District Bar Association (1996-97, 2000-01) and is known for his humor, imitations, and his dedication to his alma mater. On the latter point, all four of his children are also Tar Heel alumni. Collini is the past president of the Union County Young Democrats. He maintains his law office in Wadesboro, the seat of Anson County.

Tanya Wallace
Judge Tanya Wallace is the Chief District Court Judge in 20-A. She was the first woman, on information and belief, to serve on the local district court bench. Judge Wallace is also only one of three female Chief District Court judges currently serving in North Carolina. A 1980 alumna of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, Tanya Wallace has served as judge continuously since her appointment in 1987 – that is, 21 years. Since then she has been elected five (5) times to the bench, giving her seniority in the region. Her family has been very active in Democratic Party politics and in community, civic, and church affairs. Judge Wallace is also a faithful Rotarian. She and her husband live in Rockingham. Judge Wallace’s daughter, Chevonne, is presently in her second year at Campbell University School of Law.(Photo: Judge Wallace and State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Luncheon in Richmond County in January 2008.)

* * * *

It is important to note two things.

First, all of the above candidates are registered Democrats.

Second, two of our Superior Court judges are retiring this year. They are current Resident Superior Court Judge Michael Beale and Judge Susan Taylor. Beale lives in Richmond County and Taylor resides in Stanly County. They both have been superb public servants, and are truly shining examples of what attorneys and judges should be: fair, competent, respected, dedicated, and hard-working. We here in Judicial District 20-A and at Wayne's World wish them both the very best in the years ahead, and extend a collective "thank you" for a job well-done.

* * * *

In closing, please remember our judges this year – regardless of trial level or appellate level – and note that voters must consider them separately from the partisan ballot. In other words, when you vote “straight ticket” you must still cast a separate vote for the judges.

Finally, “Wayne’s World” extends kudos to June Mabry, chairwoman of the Stanly County Democratic Party and First Vice Chair of the Eighth Congressional District Democratic Party, for reminding me and others about highlighting these races on my blog. Thank you as well to the candidates for making their resumes available for the public.


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