NC Lawyers Describe Judges As "Lazy" And "One-Sided"

12:39 AM, Nov 4, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

GREENSBORO, NC -- It's our job to hold people in power accountable. 

Judges have power.

And we discovered all judges are *not* created equal.

Most voters don't know this.

But the state bar association has lawyers score judges on things like integrity, impartiality, legal ability, overall performance - on a scale of one to five.

Most score right around a four, but a handful of our judges scored in the three range.

Angela Foster at 3.29.
Avery Crump at 3.03
Logan Burke at 3.01.

But the lowest score we found was out of Randolph County from Judge Robert Wilkins.

Wilkins got a 2.88.

Frank: "Is it safe to say that we have poorly performing judges right now?" Bob: "Yes."

Bob Shupe and North Carolina Court Watch have monitored courts since 1986. We didn't ask him about these specific judges.

But he acknowledged...

Frank: "Do you think this could impact whether someone's found guilty, not guilty or wins litigation versus loses litigation?" Bob: "In some cases it probably does."

With justice at stake, we wanted to go beyond these numbers. Again, Randolph County Judge Robert Wilkins' 2.88 is the lowest in our area. 

But we wanted to focus on Guilford and Forsyth Counties - the largest in our area. We called a handful of attorneys to get their honest and anonymous opinions about Judges Foster, Crump and Burke.

For Guilford County District Court Judge Angela Foster, lawyers said:
"She can be a little lazy at times."
"She is ignorant to certain things in the law."
But one lawyer did say, "She tries to do what's right."

About Guilford County District Court Judge Avery Crump:
"Avery is not what you call neutral."
"She lacks the milk of human kindness."
And quote: "The evil witch of the west."

And on Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Burke, quote:
"He's kind of immature for a grown man. He's like a 14-year-old boy."
"Whether he's wrong or right, it's his way or the highway."
"He's lazy."
And "If I wasn't his friend, I'd be scared to death."

Greensboro attorney Locke Clifford talked to us about judges, in general.

"They have good days and bad. They make wrong decisions sometimes. They go off half-cocked," said Clifford.
Frank: "A judge has pretty much all the authority there. There's nobody there to tell them 'oh, you can't do that' and make him change." Locke: "Absolutely."

We called Judges Foster, Avery and Burke and sent emails. Not one solitary word in response.


"Remember, that people who are unhappy with a judge are more motivated to turn in a survey," said Judge Lawrence McSwain.

"I think somebody's going to always say 'yes, so and so is a bad judge.' But I guarantee you if you go out there searching you'll find people that will say that they're a good judge,"he said.

"Anytime they're doing what they're not supposed to be doing or giving everybody the same kind of treatment, the public suffers," Shupe said.

But you don't have to. You have the power of your vote. Trouble is, most of us seldom see what happens in the courtroom.

"It actually makes it harder to get a poorly performing judge out of office. There's no exit strategy to get a poorly performing judge out of office. They continue to be elected," Shupe said.

Two other Triad judges scored lower than the rest.

Forsyth County District Court Judge Victoria Roemer scored 3.26.

3.25 was the score for District Court Judge David Creed in Randolph County.

A score of three is considered average.

Below three, rates as below average.

WFMY News 2

Most Watched Videos