Catherine Constantinou | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Catherine Constantinou

N.C. District Court

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Full Legal Name: Catherine Lula Constantinou

Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Catherine Constantinou

Seat/ District: 14th

Partisan Affiliation: nonpartisan race

Date of Birth: 03-22-1967

Home Address: 614 W. Main St, Apt. 215, Durham, NC 27701

Mailing Address (if different from home):

Campaign Web Site: www.catherineforjudge.com

Occupation & Employer: Constantinou Law Group, PA

Bachelor's Degree Year & Institution: University of North Carolina at Greensboro 1989

JD Year & School: North Carolina Central University School of Law 1992

Other Degrees:

Years lived in North Carolina: all of my life

Home Phone: 919-270-8326

Work Phone: 919-683-1302

Email: info@catherineforjudge.com


1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing the District Court? What are your top priorities or issues of concern for the coming term?

I believe the most important issue facing Durham County District court is the current governmental economic situation and its ramifications for resources for indigent families and parties and alternatives to incarceration. The top concern for my potential term would be the implementation of bench to community alternatives for intervention for "at risk youth," populations riddled with addiction and poverty, and employment for probationers and parolees. I believe a District Court Judge can be involved in their community, joining resources to this population.

Presently, Durham County is unable to implement some services due to North Carolina's current economic freezes. Having the civil experience in my 17 years of practice as a family law attorney, I have worked with families in crisis. Many times I have had to utilize creative solutions in order to bring about results. Some of these are implementing volunteer GAL's, county based addiction programs, and school based resources. Attempting to empower the individual in need, in order to bring about results.

2. What qualifies you to serve?

I have dedicated my practice to the representation of families, most of who are in crisis. I am a litigator and as such, I have seen people embroiled in court matters, and its effect on families. This experience has taught me to creatively utilize resources to empower individuals to dislodge themselves from conflict. My knowledge of the law has streamlined trials and has given me experience in anticipating outcomes, allowing me to advise my clients, to bring about closure of their matters. I have volunteered in both the legal and general community, through St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church Philoptochos Society (friend of the poor), Student Court, Teen Court, Juvenile Bar, Family Bar and The North Carolina Bar Association Family Law Division; all providing me a perspective regarding at risk populations and the efficient application of the law and resources to bring about life plans and conflict resolution.

3. How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach?

I would define myself politically as an involved and educated voter; wanting to seek information regarding issues and then formulating a position. My judicial approach is affected by this methodology in that I would listen to the evidence presented and decisively apply the law rendering what would be a fair and impartial decision.

4. FOR INCUMBENTS: What have been your most important decisions in your current capacity? FOR CHALLENGERS: What decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with?

Not applicable

5. What do you feel was the U.S. Supreme Court's most important recent decision? Did you agree with the majority?

Campaign Financing and no I do not agree with majority.

6. Do you feel that North Carolina's current system of judicial elections serves the state well? Are there other forms of selecting judges you feel would function better or worse than the current one?

I feel that the current system does serve the state, in that, North Carolina supports democratic system. More specifically, grassroots organizations and political action groups have thrived in this state allowing for the people's voices to be heard through fair and open elections. To not vote but have the judiciary appointed stifles the voices of the populous and empowers the few in control to choose, in my case, District Court Judge. That position is one of the most important elected positions in county government; deciding issues involving property ownership, criminal matters and juvenile matters, involving families and children.

7. Have you ever pled guilty or no contest to any criminal charge other than a minor traffic offense? Please explain.

No

8. Is there anything else you'd like to add about yourself or the issues that are important to you?

I believe that I am the best choice for District Court Judge in Durham County because I can bring to the bench a solution based perspective stemming from my years as a civil litigator working with people and families in crisis. This advantage sets me apart from my opponents. I have an energy and a desire to combine bench to community resources to provide for a fair administration of justice while effectively seeking out alternatives to conflict.

Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

I support and would take part in Second Parent Adoptions.

9. On the District Court level, what improvements can be made in terms of the juvenile justice system? What are the weaknesses or constraints in the court's handling of juvenile offenders?

Again, the economic situation of the state has hampered alternatives for juvenile offenders. Improving the resourcing of community based alternatives with juvenile offenders in an efficient manner would be one of my personal goals. An exploration of 'school to prison pipeline" issues would also benefit this population and could result in improvements regarding the juvenile system.

A primary weakness in the handling of juvenile offenders, from my experience, is the lack of early intervention and domestic family management.

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