Marcia H. Morey | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Marcia H. Morey

N.C. District Court

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Full Legal Name: Marcia Helen Morey

As It Appears on the Ballot: Marcia H. Morey

Seat/District: (Morey) 14th Judicial District

Partisan Affiliation: Democrat

Date of Birth: August 14, 1955

Home Address: 2 Middlesborough Court, Durham

Campaign Web Site: None

Occupation and Employer: State of North Carolina - Judicial

Bachelor's Degree/Year: Millikin University, 1978

JD Year and School: 1982 Northwestern School of Law

Other Degrees: Masters of Art in Teaching

Years lived in N.C. 24 years

Work Phone (919) 564-7246


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?

Efficiency in proceedings, respect for all who appear in court, meeting the needs of the Durham community. My top priorities/issues for the coming term: Promoting judicial consistency, reducing delays in court proceedings. Effectively addressing budgetary reductions, searching for more dispute resolution alternatives, and always trying to reduce and prevent juvenile delinquency and substance abuse. We must find better ways to address the mentally ill who are charged with misdemeanor offenses.

2. What qualifies you to serve?

It has been an honor to serve Durham as a judge for the last 11 years. I believe I am fair and impartial. Each year I attend continuing judicial education conferences and do my best to stay current with statutory and case law. I have experience in all of our courtrooms, including juvenile, criminal, traffic, family, and civil courts. Off the bench, I contribute back to the community by volunteering every week at Githens Middle School's truancy court. I work with Durham's Teen Court. I serve on the board of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham and the advisory board of the Achievement Academy. Prior to becoming a judge in 1999, I was the Executive Director of the Governor's Commission on Juvenile Crime and Justice and continue to be passionate about youth and preventing delinquency.

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

My political views do not impact my judicial approach. I believe deeply in the fundamental values of the Constitution as it applies to equal protection and due process for all people.

4. For incumbents: What have been your most important decisions in your current capacity?

Decisions regarding juveniles and families are probably the most difficult and important. But I think every case is important, be it a DWI trial, to deciding a criminal matter or an ejectment proceeding. Each person who appears in court is depending on the judge to make a fair and just decision, as it is the most important decision to his or her life.

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

Probably the most recent case that gives corporations the right to political free speech. I worry that money will buy elections and the voice of the individual will be drowned out. No, I did not agree with the 5 - 4 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?

This is one of the toughest issues the electorate and judiciary faces. I strongly believe that judges should be elected by an informed electorate. Unfortunately, voters know very little about judicial candidates on the ballot. The question is how can voters become better informed about who they are voting for? In the past a "Court Watch" group evaluated judges. Promptness, respect for litigants, attorneys, bias, fairness, listening to cases, etc. were categories evaluated. While this is helpful, few voters read these evaluations. The appointment system has merits, but political patronage is a detriment. I believe that retention elections hold the most promise. Voters elect judges, but retention elections held every four or eight years would provide a check on which judges should be retained and which should not.

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


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

I want people of Durham County to have confidence in their judges. That the judicial system is fair, impartial and just. That judges understand the anquish of victims. That Durham's courts are efficient in dispensing justice. That the justice system is a mirror of community standards and that no matter a person's economic status, skin color, creed, personal beliefs, that everyone is entitled to the very best of the judicial system.

9. 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 make decisions every day, and have for the last 11 years that might cost me some popularity points with voters. Every case that comes before me, be it in a criminal proceeding, a summary ejectment, a delinquency case, a drunk driving trial, an adoption that by applying the law to the facts of the case, may not always be popular, but I will follow the law and do my best to do what is right.

10. 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?

North Carolina is the only state in the country that considers 16 year old nonviolent misdemeanor offenders to be adults. We must change this law. To be a 16 or 17 year old who makes a mistake in judgment by shoplifting or having a small amount of marijuana a criminal offense that can indelibly mark them with a criminal conviction. For all other purposes, youth under the age of 18 are minors. The criminal justice system should treat them likewise. The juvenile justice system provides treatment and services that deters crime and rehabilitates youth. Further, North Carolina law that allows youth to drop out of school at the age of 16, harms our society. Youth should stay in school until they graduate or until they turn 18.


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