Charles Phillips Gilliam
Candidate for District Court Judge, District 10
Full Legal Name: Charles Phillips Gilliam
Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Charles Phillips Gilliam
Party: There is no party affiliation listed on the ballot for judges. Voters should carefully look on both sides of the ballot to find judge races. Voting a "straight ticket" does not result in any vote being cast for any judge.
Date of Birth: 1950
Campaign Web Site: www.CharlesPGilliam.com
Occupation & Employer: Attorney. Self employed.
Years lived in Durham County: About seven years in Wake County.
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?
Readers are probably aware that there is a pending investigation of allegations of impropriety in handling DWI cases in Wake County District Court. (http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/02/29/1892379/probe-of-judge-focuses-on-altered.html)
At this juncture we do not know the facts or the extent of involvement of judges, if any. We should await the results of the investigation.
If the investigation reveals that cases have indeed been handled in a manner improperly benefiting attorneys or drunk drivers, the natural result would be a breakdown in public confidence in the court system. The Judicial and Legislative branches of the government would have to consider thoughtfully what response is necessary. Ultimately, the voters would decide whether the response was satisfactory.
Our sympathies as a society should, firstly, be with the victims, including future victims, of drunk drivers.
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 am presently not a district court judge and am not affiliated with any attorneys who work in district court. I am running for district judge as the culmination of thirty years of legal experience because I want to serve our community. I have no need or interest in attaining any future legal practice advantage for myself as a result of being a judge. The fact that I am and always will be independent will make me an effective and impartial judge.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
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.
The position of district judge does not lend itself to taking "stands." A district judge deals with individual cases that are fact intensive and must be decided on their individual merits.
5. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
It is not the role of a district judge to make political decisions from the bench and, if elected, I would not do so in the performance of my duties. Handling each case fairly and appropriately, according to the law, results in justice for the community.
6. How long do you plan to serve if elected, and how long will you be able to serve?
The initial term is four years. North Carolina law requires all judges to step down at age 72. Where the length of service falls is ultimately for the voters to decide.
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.) A bill to raise the juvenile jurisdiction age to 18 is expected to be considered in the 2012 legislative session. Do you support the age increase? Please explain why or why not.
I have an open mind on this issue. It is not a decision a judge would make. A judge would implement the legislative mandate.
8. What is your experience in juvenile court? What can be done to prevent delinquency and gang involvement?
I am presently not involved in juvenile court and have an open mind on the facets of this topic that pertain to the court system. My desire is to listen to the reasoned opinions of others, learn the relevant facts, and approach the issues without predilection.
In my opinion the goal is to direct resources to deal with delinquency and gangs before law enforcement and courts have to become involved. Parents, ministers and teachers are on the front line for early intervention and need our support. These efforts must also include dealing with older people who lead juveniles astray.
9. What improvements could be made in the Wake County judicial system to expedite the trying of cases and ease caseloads?
If I am elected, I would want to understand the administrative challenges firsthand before evaluating potential improvements to the system. My experience has taught me that flexibility is key to balancing work flows. Flexible management includes being willing to follow the facts.