Chief Justice Newby’s Decision: Judge Stroud Ousted as Chief of North Carolina Appeals Court
On Tuesday, State Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby removed Donna Stroud from her position as chief of the North Carolina Court of Appeals and appointed Chris Dillon as her successor. Traditionally, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals is the individual with the longest tenure on the court. In this case, Stroud was elected in 2006, six years ahead of Dillon’s election.
All three individuals involved, Newby, Stroud, and Dillon, belong to the Republican Party. However, Stroud faced criticism from Supreme Court Justice Phil Berger, Jr., a colleague of Newby. Justice Berger had supported Stroud’s primary opponent in 2022.
The discontent stemmed from Stroud’s failure to endorse one of Berger’s former law clerks for a Court of Appeals clerkship. Despite Republicans holding a 10-5 majority on the Court of Appeals at the time, a former Democrat secured the clerk position after Stroud and another Republican sided with Democrats in the vote.
Berger accused Stroud of influencing the vote to favor the Democrats, as reported in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.
Chris Brook, a former judge on the Court of Appeals, expressed apprehension about the change on social media (referred to as X, formerly known as Twitter). He pointed out that according to the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society, previous Chief Judges either retired or passed away, unlike in Stroud’s case.
Brook emphasized that replacing Chief Judge Stroud with Chief Judge Dillon is an unprecedented move by Chief Justice Newby.
Despite seeking comment from the Administrative Office of the Courts, NC Newsline received no response. Additionally, the official website did not feature a press release on the change, but the biographies page indicated Dillon as the new chief of the Court of Appeals, replacing Stroud.
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