Bob Hunter | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Bob Hunter 

Candidate for NC Supreme Court

(For race in November)

Full Legal Name: Bob Hunter

Party: Non-partisan election

Date of Birth: March 30, 1947

Campaign Web Site: www.bobhunterforjustice.com

Occupation & Employer: Judge, N.C. Court of Appeals

Years lived in Durham: Lived in N.C. all my life

Home Phone: 919-801-9799

Email: rnhunterjr@ec.rr.com


1. If you have made pledges, taken positions or otherwise commented on how you might rule in office, what are your top three priorities or issues of concern for the coming term?

My priority is to be fair to the appellants who appear before me and apply the law to the facts of each case impartially and without favoritism to anyone due to their rank or position.

2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the bench? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.

Before becoming a judge I practiced law for 35 years. I have served as judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals for more than 5 years authoring about 150 opinions. I participate in deciding another 300 cases per year which are authored by other judges. In addition I have taught law classes at Wake Forest, Elon and North Carolina Central Law Schools. I have been active in the N.C. Bar Association as President of BarCares, Inc. and am currently serving on the Chief Justice Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity for the N.C. Advocates for Justice. I believe these experiences have prepared me to decide cases on the Supreme Court.

3. The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

The North Carolina Supreme Court decides cases which apply statewide. An examination of my record on the N.C. Court of Appeals will show a record of fairness in applying the law equally to all people. I believe that by doing a good job a public servant furthers the goal of a just society.

4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

I favored the public financing of judicial races and along with my colleagues sent a letter to the General Assembly asking it to maintain that system. I am not a candidate for the legislature and therefore try not to speculate on changes involving questions which are the subject of another branch of government.

5. Do you favor or oppose public financing of judicial races? Please explain. What changes would you make to the current system to improve it?

I favored the public financing of judicial races and along with my colleagues sent a letter to the General Assembly asking it to maintain that system. I am not a candidate for the legislature and therefore try not to speculate on changes involving questions which are the subject of another branch of government.

6. Have you ever recused yourself from a case or, as a lawyer, faced a conflict of interest? Please describe the case.

Yes, an acquaintance of mine was going through a divorce and I recused myself from his appeal.

7. The passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws has removed some of the discretion judges, juries and prosecutors used to exercise in the sentencing phase of criminal trials. Should judges have more or less flexibility in the sentencing phase than currently allowed under North Carolina law? Please explain.

Under our system of government, the legislature has some ability to control the sentencing discretion of judges. Because this issue may come before me as an appellate judge, I don’t think it is wise to publically speculate about this question which is the province of the legislative branch.

8. In this new technological world, do you perceive a conflict between government surveillance and the need to protect an individual’s privacy?

In this new technological world, do you perceive a conflict between government surveillance and the need to protect an individual’s privacy?

Yes.

9. What are your thoughts about criminal culpability for young people? Is the North Carolina criminal justice system treating them appropriately?

My thoughts on this subject are contained in an opinion I authored for the court in In re. SMS, 196 N.C. App. 170, 675 S.E.2d 44, (2009)

10. Does the death penalty place an undue financial burden on the courts? If so, assess the impact.

The death penalty does place a financial burden on the courts, whether or not the burden is undue is a matter of legislative or political speculation best left to other branches. I have served as publically appointed counsel for a defendant who was later executed.

11. Justice Department Officials had instructed federal prosecutors across the country not to focus federal resources on individuals who were complying with state laws regarding the use of medical marijuana. As a judge, do you find this philosophy confusing?

Yes.

12. The law offers special protections to racial and ethnic minorities. Are members of the LGBT community sufficiently protected?

I don’t know the answer to this question.

13. Has the current process for redistricting served the State well?

I litigated voting rights and election cases for various clients for 30 years including numerous redistricting cases. The current process has imperfections that could be improved however the mechanics of how the law should be implemented are largely a legislative decision upon which I think it best if I do not speculate.

14. Has the current process for redistricting served the State well?

I am not aware of any undue depletion of the power of the judicial branch with regard to civil procedure.

15. There is not complete judicial uniformity across the state; some jurisdictions, for example, have family and drug courts while others do not. Are we meeting the needs of the entire state?

All departments of government, including the judicial branch, have suffered budget cuts for the past several years. I would favor the adoption of a larger system of family and drug courts to meet the needs of the population the courts see regularly which are composed of addicts and people in need of mental health treatment or both. However the answer to the second question is a legislative matter which is beyond the remedial reach of the judiciary.

  • Candidate for NC Supreme Court

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