QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question 1: How long have you been a Republican?
Answer: I have been a Republican since I first registered to vote at 18 years of age. I have never been anything else.
Question 2: What does a District Court Judge actually do?
Answer: District Court Judges decide cases involving general civil disputes under $25,000.00; family matters such as divorce, child custody, alimony, child support, and equitable distribution; lesser criminal matters like traffic tickets and misdemeanors, juvenile matters, and some magistrate matters such as setting bail.
Question 3: Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
Answer: No, I have never been convicted of a serious crime. In my younger years, I had a couple of speeding tickets, a failure to stop at a red light (I was following too closely behind a large truck and did not see the light change), and a ticket for not having my game land license on me while hunting (I had my hunting license but did not have the endorsement for hunting in the game lands). These all occurred many years ago.
Question 4: How are you funding your campaign?
Answer: I am funding my campaign myself and with donations from the fine people of New Hanover and Pender Counties. If you decide to donate, please visit my website and click on the "donate" button which will take you to a secure page to make your donation.
Question 5: In your opinion, which is more important: the number of cases you’ve handled as an attorney or the type of cases you’ve handled?
Answer: The type of cases an attorney has handled, in my opinion, is much more important than the number of cases, especially for a district court judge. Many judges come from the criminal arena, whether as an assistant district attorney or defense attorney, this means that they have done possibly thousands of "cases" such as traffic tickets, arraignments, DUIs, etc. etc. And that experience is good and it matters; however, District Court Judge's preside over cases which, in my opinion, have much greater impact on the individual long-term and for which a broader life experience is needed. Child custody, juvenile matters, and the like are conducted as bench trials where the judge makes the decisions not a jury. When it comes to children, I believe a judge with broader experience is better. I, for example, have done a few traffic tickets in my career, I have that experience; however, prosecuting or defending a child custody matter from beginning to end - from drafting the complaint, through discovery, to the actual trial - involves more and teaches a lawyer more than 1000 traffic tickets. That's my opinion.
Question 6: What is the most pressing issue facing our community from a legal stand point right now, in your opinion?
Answer: Drug related crimes. Fentanyl, heroin, and opioid related crime is a big problem, not only in southeastern North Carolina, but throughout our great nation and more needs to be done by our legislature.
Question 7: Are you involved in any investments from which you derive additional income that might impair your appearance of impartiality?
Answer: I am not involved with any investments or business relationships, other than my current music group, that could possibly impair my impartiality, but if something occurs that could impair or even appear to impair my impariality, I would of course, recuse myself from the matter.
Question 8: Would you hear a case where you or a member of your family held a de minimis financial interest in a party involved?
Answer: No, I would not hear the case.
Question 9: Do you still play music?
Answer: Yes, I have been playing music, either trumpet or bass guitar, since I was 8 years old. After graduating from Hoggard High School in 1993, I played professionally until about 2000. Nowadays, I play on the weekends with a Country/Southern Rock cover band called Southern Trouble. Over the years, I have played in blues bands, classic rock bands, dance bands, and others. My legal clients come first but playing music on the weekends is a nice respite from the stresses of legal work.
More Questions and answers will be added as they are received. Email your questions to Richard at KernforJudge@gmail.com