Articles Posted in North Carolina Supreme Court

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The North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission recommended that Respondent John Totten, a district court judge, be censured for conduct in violation of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-376(b). Respondent had suppressed the breath alcohol concentration test taken by a defendant charged with driving while impaired and careless and reckless driving without a motion to suppress and a hearing as required by law. The Supreme Court ordered that Respondent be censured for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct and section 7A-376(b). View "In re Totten" on Justia Law

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As a result of conduct inappropriate to her judicial office, including disposing of at least eighty-two cases in violation of the N.C. General Statutes, the Judicial Standards Commission entered a recommendation that the Supreme Court suspend Respondent Denise Hartsfield, a district court judge, without compensation for a suitable period of time. Respondent had moved traffic citations off their scheduled court dates and added them to traffic dockets that she presided over with the alleged understanding that Respondent would enter a favorable judgment in those matters. After weighing the severity of Respondent's conduct against her candor and her cooperation, the Court concluded that Respondent should be suspended without compensation from the performance of her judicial duties for seventy-five days. View "In re Hartsfield" on Justia Law

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In this appeal the Supreme Court considered whether the clerk of superior court had the authority to determine the reasonableness of attorney's fees that a trustee-attorney in a foreclosure proceeding paid to himself in addition to his trustee's commission. The superior court affirmed the clerk's order. The court of appeals vacated the clerk's and trial court's orders, holding that the clerk lacked the statutory authority to determine the reasonableness of attorney's fees paid in a foreclosure proceeding. The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals, holding (1) the clerk exceeded his statutory authority by reducing the trustee-attorney's attorney's fees, and (2) absent a viable challenge for breach of fiduciary duty from a creditor with standing, the trustee-attorney's payment of attorney's fees to himself in addition to a trustee's commission could not be upset. View "In re Foreclosure of Vogler Realty, Inc." on Justia Law