Name as it appears on the ballot: Mark A. Perry
Date of Birth: October 8, 1958
Campaign Web Site: MarkPerryforJudge.com
Occupation & Employer: Mark A. Perry, Attorney at Law
Years lived in Durham County: I live in Wake County. The 10th Judicial District is Wake County only. I have lived here all my life except for three years (1984-7) when I lived in Durham County while I was in Law School and two years (1965-66) in Florida.
1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing the District 10 District Court? What are your top three priorities in addressing these issues?
Justice, Overcrowding and Inefficient use of resources. 1) Set more criminal cases on Friday, THINK and use discretion to resolve conflicts. We must remember that the longest journey is begun with the first step, not pontificating about how long the journey is.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be an effective district court judge? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
I have practiced law in the Wake County Court system for over 20 years and have observed most aspects of the day to day functioning of the Courthouse. I also have a Masters in Public Administration, which helps me to understand how the various components of the civil and criminal justice systems interact. Although I now primarily practice criminal law, I have appeared in every court. My experience has taught me that most people that come into the Court would rather be somewhere else and they not accustomed to the operations of the Court. It can be a confusing experience but if they are given clear and concise information their interactions can be less stressful. Most people that enter the court system are not mean and evil, they are just people that have run into a problem.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
Judges in North Carolina are now non-partisan and that is as it should be. No judicial decision should be made based on partisan considerations. On the other hand, Judges are human and participate in society just like everyone else. I am a registered Democrat and my political philosophy is middle of the road.
4. 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.
Apply the rule of law and hold the State to its burden of proof in criminal matters to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is that proof which fully satisfies and totally convinces.
5. The Independents mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
I will endeavor to treat people with the respect that they deserve and apply the law to the facts of each case tempered by compassion and understanding.
6. How long do you plan to serve if elected, and how long will you be able to serve?
I would like to serve the people 4 to 8 years if I do a good job. Each District Court term of office is 4 years and the mandatory retirement age is 72.
7. North Carolina prosecutes 16-year-olds as adults. (Thirteen-year-old juveniles who are charged with felonies can also be prosecuted as adults, if transferred from juvenile court.) Do you support the raising of the juvenile jurisdiction to 18? Please explain why or why not.
I think the age a child is treated as a juvenile should be raised at least to 17 if not 18 years old. North Carolina is only one of two states where a 16 year old is automatically treated as an adult. Young folks do not have the life experiences to always make the best decisions. The juvenile system has more resources available to help modify decision processes that are less draconian than the adult system.
8. Are you in favor of raising suggested bond guidelines for serious felonies? Are you in favor of unsecured bonds for Class 2 and 3 misdemeanors? Please explain.
I am in favor of following the statutory requirements for setting a bond required by Article 26, of Chapter 15-A of the North Carolina General Statutes. Guidelines are fine as a place to start, but one must remember that the purpose of bail bond is not punishment. It is to assure the defendants appearance in court. If there is some evidence that a defendant may attempt to destroy evidence, pose a danger to someone, suborn perjury or intimidate witnesses that should be taken into account in setting a higher bond. If the person will attend court as commanded by the State, only a written promise to appear, a custody release or an unsecured bond would be appropriate.
9. What is your experience in juvenile court? What can be done to prevent delinquency and gang involvement?
I have practiced very little in juvenile court in the last 15 years. Although the juvenile system has more resources to devote to offenders then the adult criminal system, there is very little the court can do by itself. Parental involvement and vigilance combined with community programs aimed at providing safe and internally motivating outlets to kids should be fostered. A minimum wage that high enough to impel older teens to seek employment and learn life skills associated with the responsibilities of a job may be a cost effective way to re-direct some of these young folks energies away from identifying with gangs.
10. District court judges do not continue cases past 120 days after the first appearance. Is that too long, or too short? Why?
Each case has its own unique facts and circumstances. To just blindly follow a policy as if it were written in stone negates the discretion of the Judge. In a perfect world cases would not even take 120 days. Resources are limited and it is not a perfect world. That is why I think Judges should exercise their discretion as to whether a case should be continued. Judges take an oath to do just that.