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Pat Evans 2014 PA-PAC Questionnaire


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Pat Evans, candidate for NC District Court District 14 Judge, 2014 People's Alliance PAC Questionnaire

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Pat Evans 2014 PA-PAC Questionnaire

  1. 1. 1    Pat Evans People’s Alliance PAC 2014 Questionnaire for North Carolina Trial Division Judicial Candidates Candidate’s Name: Pat Evans Residence address: 6015 Grandale Drive, Durham, North Carolina 27713 Cell-phone Number: (919) 638-3778; e-mail: About you: 1) Where were you born and where have you lived? Answer: I was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina which is in Halifax County. I lived there until I graduated from high school. I then moved to Durham, North Carolina to attend North Carolina Central University and have made Durham my home since 1975. When did you make Durham your home? Answer: 1975. 2) Are you conservative or liberal? Please choose one and then explain your answer. Answer: Pursuant to the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 1, I am required to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Additionally, Canon 3 requires me to perform the duties of my office impartially and diligently. Therefore it is improper for me as a sitting judge to convey the impression that any group is in a special position to influence my decisions. I am not swayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism. 3) Please describe how your religious and philosophical beliefs may affect your conduct and decision making if you are elected. Answer: As a Christian, I have the responsibility to honor and respect the inherent dignity of every person who appears before me. Many of the individuals who appear before me are members of society who are underserved and disadvantaged, especially in juvenile and criminal courts. Regardless of a person’s circumstance, it is not only my duty as a jurist to uphold the constitution, but it is also a responsibility to my core values to evaluate each case that comes before me in a fair manner. Being an African American female has taught me how important the protections afforded under the Constitution really are. The process is sometimes frustrated when the individuals are inadequately represented. I will continue to base my decisions on the law and facts before me. 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, please describe. Answer: Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Aids Care Team Ministry, Bible Study Fellowship, George H. White Bar Association, Durham County Bar Association, North Carolina State Bar Association, North Carolina District Court Judges Association, United Negro College Fund, Hillside Band Parents, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Durham Sentencing Services, Triangle Chapter of Links, Inc. (supporter), Center for Child
  2. 2. 2    and Family Health (supporter); Interfaith Hospitality Network, Durham County Teen Court, Project Excellence, and currently serving on Board of Directors for Urban Ministries of Durham and New Horizons Character and Leadership Academy. 5) If you have had an occupation other than law, please describe the occupation and the work you performed. Who were your employers? Answer: Until I entered college, I worked on my uncle’s farm. While a student at NCCU, I worked three part-time jobs to help finance my education and provide for my minor child. I worked in the Campus Security Office where my employer was Chief John Smith. I also worked at B. Dalton Bookseller where my supervisor was Judy Gauldin. Additionally, I worked at Hope Valley Country Club (prior to it becoming integrated) as a waitress and bartender under the supervision of William Mack. 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. Answer: No. 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. Answer: I have never been the plaintiff in a lawsuit. I have been the defendant in two lawsuits where a credit card company sued me, one in 2006 and one in 2008. One of the lawsuits was dismissed and the other was paid off. I incurred credit card debt while operating my solo law practice because people did not always the ability to pay for my services. When a person truly needed my legal assistance and could not afford to pay me, I represented them for free. 8) Please describe your practice as a lawyer. Be specific. Describe the areas of your practice and your specialties. If, over time, these have changed, describe the changes. Describe your client base as a part of your answer. .Answer: Before becoming a judge, I worked as a criminal defense attorney. My client base was the citizens of Durham charged with criminal offenses. I was on the court appointed list for higher level felonies the last fifteen years of my practice. I found it to be extremely difficult managing a solo law practice when it came to finances but incredibly rewarding when it came to assisting people who otherwise could not have afforded an attorney who was zealous and passionate about their defense. 9) If you are a judge in the trial division, please describe two trials over which you have presided which best illustrate your abilities and temperament as a trial judge. Explain why you selected the cases you describe. Answer: One example that best illustrates my abilities and temperament involves a while male with mental health issues charged with assaulting several African Americans. He was evaluated, but found competent to stand trial. The facts presented showed that this person worked at a local convenience store and while on duty, hit one of the victims with a broom, sprayed the water hose on another, repeatedly struck another victim’s truck with a broom, while the whole time he is constantly using the n--- word. Some of the victims had their minor children present who witnessed the incident. The most gut wrenching portion of the trial was having to listen to one of the parent victims testify as to what is every
  3. 3. 3    minority parent’s worst fear—trying to explain hatred and racism to your child. I am convinced that this matter was among the top ones that tested my ability to maintain control and decorum in the courtroom as well as uphold the integrity and independence of the judicial office I hold. Another trial that illustrates my abilities and temperament involved an individual who was HIV positive, an addict and had an active case of tuberculosis. He was charged with a health law violation for failure to complete treatment. Upon hearing some of the evidence in this matter and discussion with the parties, we were able to discover the underlying issue—the Defendant had left Durham without completing his treatment because he feared for his well-being. This case presented a balancing test between individual rights, best interest of the community, concern for the jail population, and public safety. At his first appearance, I released him. All persons, myself included, who had contact with the man were required to have a tuberculosis shot because of the exposure. Thankfully, parties were able to resolve and settle the matter with input from the court. 10) If you are not a trial judge, please describe two of your cases that best illustrate the abilities and temperament you would display as the holder of the office you seek. Answer: I am a trial judge. 11) . If you are a sitting judge seeking reelection, are you satisfied with your North Carolina Bar Association Judicial Performance Evaluation scores? Do you think the evaluation process is valid and the results a fair indication of your performance? Using the survey categories in the evaluation, please indicate what steps, if any, you plan to take to improve your scores. Answer: The survey in and of itself is a good tool for providing feedback and constructive criticism. However, any useful implement in the wrong hands and used for wrong motives can lose its effectiveness. It has been my experience that most attorneys do not fill out the surveys as is evident from the low percentage of attorneys that responded to this survey. Generally speaking, the attorneys that fill out the surveys have an ax to grind because they take a judge’s ruling personally or they really like the judge and wish to reward him or her. I am convinced that the intent of the survey was well intended, but it can easily be turned into a popularity contest. It can be purely subjective, lack any true quality control measures or validity, and become the springboard for an aspiring candidate to challenge a sitting judge. The true evaluation comes from the people during elections. The public that judges serve have an appreciation for judges who are truly fit to serve with an appreciation and respect for the judicial system/process. These will not necessarily be the most popular because they hold everyone who enter their courtroom accountable. Judges are human. I am subject to error just like anyone else. Since this is my first term on the bench, and given that there will be a learning curve, I am aware that there is room for me to improve in every area listed on the survey. 12) Have you ever been publicly or privately disciplined by the North Carolina State Bar or any other professional or occupational licensing authority in North Carolina or any other state? “Disciplined” should be read to include reprimands, censures, and warnings in addition to license suspension, surrender, revocation, and disbarment. Answer: No. Is the State Bar or any government authority considering a complaint against you at the present time? Answer: All proceedings for judicial discipline are confidential as per NCGS Sec. 7A-377(a5). Have you ever been found in contempt of court? Answer: No.
  4. 4. 4    13) Please describe the nature and extent of any pro bono work you have done. Answer: As previously stated, while in private practice I represented people who could not afford to hire me but were in need of competent, experienced and zealous representation. My finances were under constant attack, however, as with the motto of my alma mater, there is truth in service. I felt the need to serve through the duration of my practice, as I continue to serve the citizens of Durham from the bench. Concerning law and policy: 14) 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? What are your views on the death penalty and the way death penalty cases are handled in North Carolina? Answer: It is improper for a judge to comment on the merits of a pending proceeding in any state or federal court dealing with a controversy arising in North Carolina or addressing North Carolina law. As a matter of the administration of justice, what should the courts and legislature do about the death penalty? Answer: I do not see any death penalty cases in District Court. 15) Do you perceive any racial discrimination in the criminal justice system? If your answer is yes, what should be done to combat it? Answer: Yes. All decision makers in the criminal justice system should apply laws in colorblind manner starting from law enforcement officers all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. 16) 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? What are your views on the rights (including whether any such rights exist) of homosexual persons to marry? Answer: It is improper for a judge to comment on the merits of a pending proceeding in any state or federal court dealing with a controversy arising in North Carolina or addressing North Carolina law. This issue pertains to matters currently being litigated in the state and federal courts. I have taken a solemn oath to be faithful to the law and the Constitution and will faithfully follow same. Every person who appears before me is afforded the same due process protection. What are your views on the rights (including whether any such rights exist) of homosexual persons to marry? Answer: See above response. 17) Do we incarcerate too many people in North Carolina? Answer: It is very unfortunate that any person has to be imprisoned. However the reality is that some people are not going to obey the law and pose a threat to the community. I can, with a clear conscience, confirm that I have never incarcerated any one unless there was no other alternative. America has more in prison than any other country. Judges in particular must be mindful of the fact that prison should be the last resort. Do we incarcerate the right people? Please explain your answer. Answer: Each case is different. Each judge is different. Each case must turn on its own facts. It has been proven that minorities and those who are financially challenged have historically received harsher punishment. I am acutely aware of this disparity when handling cases. What sentencing policy changes would you support in your role as a trial court judge? The legislature recently made Driving While License Revoked offenses that were not the result of a
  5. 5. 5    Driving While Impaired conviction a Class 3 misdemeanor. This is particularly helpful because now persons who did/could not pay off fines are not facing active jail time and are put in a much better position to obtain their driver’s license. I would love to see legislation that would take the burden of financing the court system off the backs of those who can least afford it. Towards that end, if a person is financially challenged, I offer to let them perform community service in lieu of costs. Would you advocate for these policy changes publicly and to the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission and in the North Carolina Judges conferences? The District Court Judges vote at our semiannual conferences on issues affecting District Court. We then present our concerns as a body. 18) If elected, will you support the following programs: the Drug Treatment Court, the Criminal Justice Resource Center, STARR, the Mental Health Treatment Court, the Veterans’ Court, the misdemeanor diversion program for 16- and 17- year-olds, and the newly established pretrial services program? Answer: Yes. Adult Drug Treatment Court was the court I derived the most satisfaction from of all the courts I have presided over. If you have reservations about any of these programs please explain them. Your politics: 19) How are you registered to vote? Answer: Judges are nonpartisan. My voter registration is a matter of public record. Have you ever changed your registration? Answer: No. If you have changed your voter registration, please explain why. 20) Who did you vote for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential and gubernatorial elections? It is inappropriate for me to answer this question. 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 list the candidates and the offices they sought. Answer: Yes, in my own when I ran for District Attorney and District Court Judge.. 22) If you are elected, do you envision any community involvement beyond the specific duties of the office? If yes, please describe that involvement. Answer: Durham has been my home of choice for almost forty years. I have sent my children to the public schools and participated in their educational endeavors here. I will continue to accept speaking engagements from schools, churches, and civic organizations. It is an honor to serve on non-profit boards that benefit everyone, especially the underprivileged. I love Durham and its people. As a public servant, it is my duty and joy to continue to serve our community.
  6. 6. Pat Evans 6015 Grandale Drive Durham, NC 27713 Home PH. 919-544-9303 Cell PH. 919-638-3778 Email : EXPERIENCE: Private practice from 1984-1990 Durham County Assistant District Attorney 1990-1994 Private practice from 1995-2010 Durham County District Court Judge 2011-present EDUCATION: Northwest High School Littleton, North Carolina High school diploma North Carolina Central University Durham, North Carolina BA, Political Science, 1979 Magna Cum Laude North Carolina Central University Law School Durham, North Carolina Juris Doctorate, 1983
  7. 7. FORMER AFFILIATIONS & ASSOCIATIONS: Durham Sentencing Services, Durham County Mental Health Board, American Red Cross, Durham Police Department (Instructor); North Carolina Central University (Adjunct Professor), Muscular Dystrophy Association, Hillside High School Band Parent, Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network, Aids Care Team Ministry, Policeman’s Benevolent Association, Southern Poverty Law Center, North Carolina Bar Association, American Bar Association. CURRENT AFFILIATIONS & ASSOCIATIONS: Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Bible Study Fellowship, George H. White Bar Association, Durham County Bar Association, North Carolina State Bar Association, North Carolina District Court Judges Association, United Negro College Fund, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Durham County Teen Court, Project Excellence, Urban Ministries of Durham and New Horizons Character and Leadership Academy.