Full Legal Name: Lori Grundy Christian
Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Lori Christian
Office Sought/District: North Carolina Court of Appeals (Martin Seat)
Date of Birth: 03/20/1961
Home Address: Cary, NC
Mailing Address (if different from home): PO Box 812, Raleigh NC
Campaign Web Site: ElectJudgeLoriChristian.com
Occupation & Employer: Wake County District Court Judge, State of North Carolina
Years lived in Durham: 0
Home Phone: 919 649 4652
Work Phone: 919 649 4652
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?
(1) The Court of Appeals hears all Family Court appeals, and more Family Court experience is desperately needed. As a District Court Judge who focusses primarily on Family Court, every day I see first-hand how our legal system impacts working families. My top priority is to bring my family court experience to the Court of Appeal, and ensure a fair, efficient judicial process.
(2) Adding much needed diversity to the Court of Appeals.
(3) The importance of thoroughly understanding both sides of an argument and how to apply the constitution and the laws of this state in rendering a well thought out opinion, while always considering those who are less fortunate and the circumstances which brought them to their station in life.
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.
As an attorney for Wake County, I represented juveniles in delinquency court and Wake County in the abuse and neglect court. This experience educated me on how our judicial system affects families. The Court of Appeals currently lacks the kind of Family Court experience I possess. Having worked my way through college, earning an engineering degree from Georgia Tech, and then working as a materials manager in the private sector, I’ve learned how to solve problems. My engineering and law degree, coupled with my work experience have helped me to understand how the law interacts with business and technology.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how do your political and legal philosophies show in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I consider myself a progressive. However, the law has its own principles, and all my decisions will be based in law, not philosophical beliefs.
4. The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal? 4. The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
Our court system should be reflective of the community. Currently, only one of the fifteen Court of Appeals judges is African American. In addition to being well qualified, due to my vast judicial experience, I would add much needed diversity to the Court of Appeals.
5. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
As a judge, I know that my decisions are not always popular, however, I know that they will be consistent with the law and with the Constitution.
6. The Court of Appeals does not hold oral arguments for a large portion of cases, and a large portion of opinions go unpublished. Is this an adequate way to build a body of case law?
This is not an adequate way to build a body of case law, however, the reality of the financial restrictions and the immense workload necessitates compromises in the number of cases published. I’m confident that the judges on the Court of Appeals work tirelessly to produce well thought out published opinions.
7. What is the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in setting precedent for North Carolina’s appellate courts?
The US Supreme Court sets precedence for the North Carolina courts as well as courts around the country.
8. 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 am in favor of public financing for judicial races. It is clear that, while judges run as non-partisan candidates, partisan money inequitably funds candidates. Public campaign financing would result in a truly non-partisan race for the judicial candidates.
9. Have you ever recused yourself from a case or, as a lawyer, faced a conflict of interest? Please describe the case.
Yes. As a family court judge, I have been sued and threatened by litigants. While the mere threat does not necessarily mean that I cannot be fair and impartial, I have recused myself from cases to allow the judicial system and the judicial standards board to resolve these issues. Additionally, I have recused myself whenever I have felt that I could not be impartial in reviewing a litigant’s case. As a judge, I have a moral obligation to remain impartial.
10. Sometimes state laws conflict with personal beliefs. Please list the two laws with which you are most uncomfortable personally. How do you deal with those conflicts?
In general, a judge is not allowed to forecast how they will rule in particular cases. However, I will state that as a judge, on occasion I’m assigned to general civil court and often hear cases involving debt collection. While I understand how individuals can find themselves in the position of not being able to pay their bills or feed their family, I must follow the law and sometimes that results in judgments against good people who are trying to survive.
11. 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.
I believe that judges should have more discretion so long as we can ensure that judges are fair and equitable. There are many examples of abuse of discretion in every facet of the judicial system. However, the inability to use discretion prohibits a judge from determining what a particular defendant needs for successful rehabilitation.
12. In this new technological world, do you perceive a conflict between government surveillance and the need to protect an individual’s privacy?
13. What are your thoughts about criminal culpability for young people? Is the North Carolina criminal justice system treating them appropriately?
There is a disproportionate number of African American males involved in the criminal system. Conversely, there is a lack of diversity within the judicial system. The inequity leads to a lack of empathy for those not in the majority and results in a system which does not always treat defendants equally.
14. Does the death penalty place an undue financial burden on the courts?
15. 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?
16. The law offers special protections to racial and ethnic minorities. Are members of the LGBT community sufficiently protected?
17. Has the current processing for redistricting served the State well?
18. Have the legislative branch unduly depleted the power of the judicial branch in terms of civil procedure?
19. 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?
No. Our judicial system is chronically underfunded. I’m in a jurisdiction which has family court funding, and I have witnessed the positive effects on the families of Wake County. I have no doubts that many families in North Carolina are not being served simply because their districts do not have funding for family courts.