Anna Worley — District Court Judge 10
Campaign website: http://www.judgeworley.com/
[media-credit name=”Anna Worley” align=”alignright” width=”150″][/media-credit]Beyond enforcing laws and being fair, what do you think are important qualities to bring to the bench?
I certainly think of course that fairness is primary among those things that we have to bring to the bench. There are several other traits that I think are very important. I think that being able to listen carefully to people and patiently to people.
In the time that I’ve been on the bench I have gained an even greater understanding of how very difficult it can be to the large number—and it is an extraordinarily large number now—of pro se litigants in the court system to express their case. If you’re their without an attorney, you may need a little extra time to think. You may need somebody that’s willing to listen through some repeated information. So I think that patience is high on that list.
Certainly a knowledge of the law is very important, and an interest in continuing to learn. The law is constantly changing: The Court of Appeals hands down decisions. The legislature changes the law. There are many ways that the laws change and I think that curiosity about what’s going on in the law and a desire to continue to learn are very important.
So I think that fairness, patience and a continuing interest in and being knowledgeable about what’s going on in the law are all very important.
Why should your constituents elect you?
I sit in family court. I am the only family law specialist sitting in family court. That means I have a specialized knowledge of those family court proceedings. I had that before I got elected and of course certainly sitting there has increased that knowledge. I continue to seek more information, year by year, going to continuing education programs and sometimes teaching those programs, but I have that specialized knowledge, I continue to develop that specialized knowledge and I think that that is very important.
I am a Spanish speaker, and that allows me to address some problems that come up in the community more expeditiously because I can explain to somebody when they come to court, even if they are not—even if English is not their first language or even a language that they are comfortable in. If they happen to be a Spanish speaker I can explain to them what the proceeding is going to be, why they need to bring an interpreter with them, what the requirements are going to be when they come back to court and when they need to be there. And I certainly hope that I demonstrate those three qualities that I told you first: Fairness, patience and a continuing interest in learning new things about the law.
What is your area of legal expertise and how will that help you on the bench?
Sounds like I’ve almost hit that one already—I am a family-law specialist. I don’t know how familiar people are with what that means, but of course, when you become a lawyer, you have to take the bar exam. When you become a specialist in the state of North Carolina, you have to be recommended by your peers. You have to have practiced for a certain amount of time in your area of specialization. And then you have to pass another bar exam in that area of specialization. All of those things I’ve done, and family law is that specialty. That means it includes anything that has to do with divorce or custody or any of the things that are wrapped into divorce, whether it’s division of property, alimony, child support or custody. We certainly hear domestic violence cases in our family courts.
Another skill that I bring and another certification that I have—I am a dispute resolution commission certified mediator, which brings another little twist to it of being able to try to help people find things that will work for them. Certainly, when you come to court, with your case, if you are unable to decide for yourself when you make it to court, it means we are going to impose something on you. But sometimes, even after you get to court, there might be some time to continue to talk and work your case out for yourself. And sometimes that mediator training can allow me to suggest possible solutions before I mandate a solution. Just to say have you thought about these aspects of what you’re doing and whether or not this would work better for you than having me tell you how to go out and resolve it. That mediator training and trying to help people figure out for themselves what would work is something I also think adds to my abilities.