People’s Alliance PAC 2014 Questionnaire
for North Carolina Appellate Division Judicial Candidates
Candidate’s name __Cheri Beasley__________________________________________________
Residence address _ 305 Meeting House Circle, Raleigh, NC 27615 ________________________
Cell-phone Number _910-584-4945___________ firstname.lastname@example.org________
1) Where were you born and where have you lived?
I grew up in Nashville, TN, spending two years in Denver, CO, attended undergraduate
school at Douglass College of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, attended law
school at The University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville and spent most of my
professional life in Fayetteville, NC and have lived in Raleigh for over 4 years.
2) Are you conservative or liberal? Please choose one and then explain your answer.
If forced to choose a label, I'm liberal. I firmly believe in the pursuit of equality for all. I do
not believe that it is the government's role to solve all social issues but believe that when the
government does involve itself, it should do so equitably. The US. and NC Constitutions,
though not initially designed to, now provide for unalienable rights for all people. Family
values are strong.
3) Please describe how your religious and philosophical beliefs may affect your conduct and
decision making if you are elected.
Each of us is shaped by our life experiences - professionally, socially, culturally and
spiritually. In 20 years of serving in the North Carolina Unified Court System, serving 15 of
those years as a judge or justice, my religious and philosophical beliefs are grounded in basic
principles of humanity. I am Protestant and an active worshipper. I believe that most people
are good. Fairness is paramount and people should be treated with decency and respect.
4) Please list the organizations (educational, social, charitable, cultural, political, religious, etc.)
you have joined or supported. If you have held an office in any of these organizations,
I speak in underprivileged schools quite a bit. I've been a member of the NC Democratic
Party State Executive Committee, Co-chair of the Cumberland County Democratic Party
Unity Committee, and Treasurer of the Cumberland County Democratic Women. I have
always been active in my church. Please see my attached resume for other involvement.
5) If you have had an occupation other than law, please describe the occupation and the work
you performed. Who were your employers? n/a
6) Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense other than a minor traffic offense (such
as speeding)? If the answer is yes, please describe the circumstances and the outcome. n/a
7) Have you personally ever been the plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit? If the answer is yes,
please explain the circumstances and the outcome of the case.
I have been a defendant in a civil lawsuit. A lawsuit was filed against me, along with other
members of the NC Court of Appeals and several other elected and public officials by
someone who had filed numerous lawsuits, complaining about the outcome of several cases
in which he was the defendant. The lawsuit was dismissed.
About your practice of law:
8) Please describe your practice as a lawyer. Be specific. Describe the areas of your practice
and your specialties. If, over time, your practice has evolved or changed, describe the
changes. Describe your various client bases as a part of your answer.
I practiced corporate law in a few companies in Research Triangle Park, served in the Wake
County District Attorney's Office for a brief stint, served in the Public Defender's Office in
Cumberland County for five years, served as a District Court Judge in Cumberland County
for ten years presiding in criminal, civil, family and juvenile courts. I was a certified juvenile
court judge. In 2008, I was elected to serve on the NC Court of Appeals and served for four
years and have served on the State Supreme Court of over one year.
9) If you have been a member of an appellate division court, please choose two decisions
you have written for the court which you feel best illustrate your learning, values, skills,
outlook, and temperament as a jurist. If the decisions are published, you may simply cite
them here. If a decision you have selected is unpublished, please provide us with a copy.
Please explain why you selected these decisions and tell us how they demonstrate your
particular fitness to hold the judicial office you are seeking.
I authored a dissent in In re: JDB , 196 N.C.App. 234 (2009) shortly after election to the
Court of Appeals where the majority affirmed a conviction for a 13-year-old accused of
stealing who was questioned without the benefit of a guardian or parent present (required
for a juvenile) and who was in custody. This matter was appealed to the Supreme Court of
NC, 363 NC 664 (2009) which affirmed the Court of Appeals. Upon appeal to the US
Supreme Court, the Court held that the juvenile may have been in custody and may not have
understood the consequences of answering questions without the benefit of receiving
Miranda rights. The case history demonstrates how each level of our state and federal courts
is important and that dissenting opinions can be persuasive in shaping the federal and state
interpretation of the US Constitution.
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communs. US v. Agere Sys, 195 NC App. 577 (2009) demonstrates
the breadth of cases heard at the appellate levels. I have written hundreds of opinions at the
Court of Appeals and written opinions and dissents at our Supreme Court.
10) If you have not been a member of an appellate division court, please describe your practice
in that division. Please provide us with the citations to two appellate decisions in cases in
which you advocated as lead attorney for one of the parties. The decisions you choose
should best illustrate the learning, values, skills, outlook, and temperament you would bring
to the court as the holder of the judicial office you seek. If a decision you have chosen is
unpublished, please provide us with a copy. Please also provide us with a copy of a portion
of the brief written by you that demonstrates your advocacy in one or both of the decisions
you have selected. Explain why you selected these decisions. n/a
11) Please describe the nature and extent of any pro bono work you have done. Is there a pro bono
matter to which you have contributed that best illustrates your values as a lawyer and you as
All of my work at the Public Defender's Office involved representing indigent clients.
Concerning law and policy:
12) What are your views on the death penalty and the way death penalty cases are handled in
North Carolina? As a matter of the administration of justice, what should the courts and
legislature do about the death penalty?
As you know, the Racial Justice Act was passed in 2009 and revised and restricted in 2012.
Essentially RJA states that race can not be the sole factor in imposing the death penalty. The
2012 revision restricts the kind of statistics and other evidence which can be used to show
that race was the sole factor in the imposition of the death penalty. The Supreme Court must
follow the law and interpret the law fairly. The Supreme Court is a policy-making court and
depending on the presentation of the action and the issues, it often has the authority in its
interpretation to impact the legislation..
13) Do you perceive any racial discrimination in the criminal justice system? If your answer is
yes, what should be done to combat it?
There are times when there may be cultural perceptions and misunderstandings. Often in
continuing education courses required of all NC judges and justices, efforts are made to
educate judges about different cultures. All judges should make a greater effort to learn more
about different races and cultures.
14) What are your views on the rights (including whether any such rights exist) of homosexual
persons to marry? Did you vote for or against Amendment One?
Society is changing. This past summer the United States Supreme Court grappled with the
application of DOMA to same gender couples. It grappled with the law but also with the
cultural shift in acceptance with LGBTQ communities. Often laws shift to reflect changes in
social, ethical attitudes. I won't be surprised if someday gay marriage is legal in NC and I
would follow the law.
15) In your view, should citizens be required to provide elections officials with some form of
official identification before they are allowed to vote?
This law is being challenged in our courts so it would be improper for me to comment on
16) Has the federal Voting Rights Act run its course in North Carolina? Please explain your
See answer to question 15. This too is before our courts.
17) In its recent decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, did the
United States Supreme Court signal a change in its approach to zoning and land use
regulation? Please explain your answer.
It appears the Court expanded the definition of 'a taking' to include payment. To receive a
permit, the District offered plaintiff options on how he could develop his land in order to be
in compliance. This is a new interpretation on 'a taking.'
18) In your view, should state agencies with licensing, environmental protection, consumer
protection, or similar functions make the final decisions in enforcement or other contested
cases or should the final decisions in such matters be made by administrative law judges?
What should North Carolina’s law and policy be with regard to the deference courts afford
regulatory agencies? What should our state’s law and policy be with regard to who is an
“aggrieved person” in cases environmental law violations?
As you know, some of the agencies listed above do make 'final decisions' and the issue for
some is that these are not neutral arbiters and that by the time the parties have reached a
neutral arbiter, they have expended a lot of time and money. As environmental law is an
evolving area and relatively new area, there are a host of thoughts on who is aggrieved. Is it
the person(s) who is injured 20 miles away or more from the contamination site or 100 miles
or more for a water source? What kind of injury - economic or non-economic? Actual injury
or prospective? These are the tough issues our courts address.
19) How are you registered to vote? Have you ever changed your registration? If you have
changed your voter registration, please explain why.
I am a registered Democratic and have never changed my registration.
20) For whom did you vote in the 2008 and 2012 presidential and gubernatorial elections?
President Obama, Gov. Bev Perdue and Lt Gov. Walter Dalton, respectively.
21) Have you ever been active in the campaign of a candidate for elective office (by active we
mean acted as campaign manager, treasurer, or paid staff, or contributed more than $2,000)?
If the answer is yes, please identify the candidate or candidates and the offices they sought.
I served as assistant treasurer for Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson (then Judge
Timmons-Goodson) when she was a candidate for the Court of Appeals. When I was active
in the Democratic Party in Cumberland County, I was active in several campaigns.
CHERI L. BEASLEY
305 Meeting House Circle
Raleigh, North Carolina 27615
(910) 844-6467 Home
(919) 831-5716 Office
EMPLOYMENT: Supreme Court of North Carolina, Associate Justice, December 2012- present
Appointed and commissioned to hear appeals from the lower trial courts and state
agencies either as a matter of right or which significantly affect the state’s jurisprudence
or are of significant public interest.
North Carolina Court of Appeals, Associate Judge, January 2009 –December 2012
Elected and commissioned to hear appeals from the lower trial courts and state agencies.
Authored 400 opinions and decided nearly 1200 cases.
District Court Judge, February 1999 - 2008
Fayetteville, Cumberland County, NC
Commissioned to preside in District Court to include traffic, criminal, domestic, juvenile
and civil sessions of court and handle all other matters under the purview of the District
Court. Assigned to Family Court and Certified Juvenile Court Judge.
Assistant Public Defender, January 1994 – February 1999
Twelfth Judicial District
Fayetteville, Cumberland County, NC
Represented criminal defendants with felony and/or misdemeanor charges. Managed a
caseload of several hundred clients on charges ranging from misdemeanors to capital
Instructor (Part-time), March 1995 - May 1995
Business Law I
Fayetteville Technical Community College, Fayetteville, NC
Taught the first level of Business Law. Subject areas included the litigation process,
Intentional torts, Negligence, Intellectual property rights, criminal law and business
crimes, and contracts.
ADMITTED: North Carolina
EDUCATION: The University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville, TN
Activities: Moot Court Board, Frederick Douglass Moot
Court Team, Black Law Student Association, Student
Bar Association, ABA Student Division.
The University of Oxford, Oxford, England
Earned six credits at the Summer Program in Law at Oxford, sponsored by Florida State
University School of Law.
Rutgers University/Douglass College, New Brunswick, NJ
B.A. in Political Science and Economics, with concentrations in Accounting and Finance.
Activities: Women and Public Policy Seminar in Washington, DC intern; Forum for
Women State Legislators in San Diego, CA, intern; Public Leadership Education
Network (PLEN); House Chairwoman of Nicholas Dormitory.
ACTIVITIES: 2012 Henry Toll Fellow, Council on State Governments
NCBA Appellate Advocacy CLE, presenter, October 2012
Lecture for Appellate Advocacy and Trial Advocacy classes at UNC School of Law and
NCCU School of Law, 2009 - present
Presenter, New Judges’ School for District Court Judges, “Judicial Philosophy”
UNC-CH School of Government, 2006 - 2007
National Institute for Trial Advocacy, (NITA)
Faculty, Advanced Trial Advocacy, 2006, 2007
American Bar Association, 1993 - present
Appellate Judges’ Conference, 2009 - present
Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary, 2011 - present
National Bar Association, 1994 - present
North Carolina Bar Association, 1993 - present
Appellate Rules Committee, 2013 - present
Women in the Profession, 2012 – present
Litigation Council, 2009 - 2011
North Carolina Bar Foundation, Endowment Committee, 2011 - present
North Carolina Association of District Court Judges, 1999 - 2008
N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1996 - 1999
N.C. Association of Women Attorneys, 1995 - present
N.C. Association of Black Lawyers, 1994 - present
Board of Governors, 1996 - 1999
Bar Relations Committee Chairperson, 1998 - 1999
Cumberland County Bar Association, 1994 - present
Professional Standards Committee, 2006 - 2009
Wake County Bar Association and Tenth Judicial District Bar, 2009 - present
Capital City Lawyers Association, 1994 - 1996
Young Lawyers of Cumberland County, 1994 - 2000
Cumberland County Association of
Defense Attorneys, 1994 - 1999
Fayetteville Bench & Bar, Founder and First President, 1994.
Member, 1994 - present
INVOLVEMENT: Junior League of Raleigh, 2013 - present
Junior League of Fayetteville (former director), 1998 -2013
The Women’s Forum of North Carolina, 2007 - present
NETWORTH, 2007 - 2010
Fayetteville State University Community Advisory Council, 2006 - 2010
Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Board of Directors, 2004 - 2009
Chair of Administrative Committee, 2005 - 2009
Women’s Center of Fayetteville, Board of Directors, 2005 - 2010
City of Fayetteville Zoning Commission, 1996 - 1997
NAACP Life Member, 1997 - present
Fayetteville Museum of Art Board of Trustees, term 1998 – 2001
HONORS: 2014 Achievement Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, Zeta Pi Omega
2013 Women of Justice Public Official Award, NC Lawyers Weekly
2013 Outstanding Achievement Award for Justice, Alliance of
NC Black Elected Officials and Advocates
2013 Inductee, Rutgers University African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame
2012 Henry Toll Fellow, Council on State Governments
2011 Presidential Award of Distinction for Public Service
General Baptist State Convention of NC, Inc.
2009 Cobra Award of Excellence, Whites Creek High School
Class of ’84 25th
2009 Woman of Achievement, General Federation of Women’s Clubs of NC