Pamela Mary Vesper | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Pamela Mary Vesper 

N.C. Court of Appeals, Wynn Seat

Full Legal Name: Pamela Mary Vesper

Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Pamela Mary Vesper

Seat Sought: Wynn Seat, NC Court of Appeals

Partisan Affiliation: Unaffiliated

Date of Birth: 1966

Home Address: 1535 Caraleigh Mills Court #222 Raleigh, NC 27603

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: auditor/investigator; North Carolina Real Estate Commission

Bachelor's Degree Year & Institution: 1988 Vanderbilt University

JD Year & School: 1993 Tulane Law School

Years lived in North Carolina: 17

Home Phone: unlisted

Work Phone: 919 805 8936


1. What are your top priorities or issues of concern for the coming term?

As a truly independent candidate, I will bring my unbiased perspective to cases that come before me. Too often, a judge's party affiliation or predispositions hinder them from rendering truly independent decisions on a case-by-case basis. My main goal upon taking the bench is to be an unbiased arbiter of justice and to give all litigants thoughtful and well-reasoned decisions.

2. What qualifies you to serve?

I have dedicated my legal career to seeking justice for the people of North Carolina, both as counsel for the North Carolina Secretary of State's office, as a prosecuting attorney for the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, and as an investigator for that same agency, where I have gathered and evaluated evidence in hundreds of consumer complaint cases, including those involving complex mortgage fraud. I have worked diligently to seek justice for North Carolinians victimized by misrepresentation and dishonest dealing, and in 2008 I was chosen as the Association of Real Estate License Law Organizations (ARELLO) investigator of the year. I have handled rule-making and drafted rules for inclusion in the NC Administrative Code. I travel the state educating real estate licensees on statutory compliance as it relates to trust accounting and related principles. In addition, I was a law clerk for the Honorable Charles Ward on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and my work appears in the federal record. I also believe in giving back to my community. In New Orleans, I volunteered my legal services to the consumer foreclosure clinic, where I helped indigent families resolve foreclosure issues with various lending institutions. For the last 7 years I have read to the blind with the Triangle Radio Reading Service, and for 4 years I taught the Constitution and English as a Second Language to new citizens. I feel that joining the judiciary is a natural next step in my service to the citizens of my state.

3. How do you define yourself politically? How does that impact your judicial approach?

I am proud to be unaffiliated with any particular political party, and this reflects the basic tenets of what will be my judicial philosophy. I have always believed in making independent decisions based upon an objective evaluation of the facts. I will bring this same independent and unbiased attitude to the bench, where litigants will receive clear and impartial consideration of their arguments and thoughtful and well-reasoned decisions.

4. FOR INCUMBENTS: What have been your most important decisions in your current capacity? FOR CHALLENGERS: What decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with?

I will not critique the incumbent, but I am passionate for justice and will bring a new, unbiased perspective to the bench. I have real-world experiences that give me a unique perspective that a career jurist or someone who has followed the traditional route through the legal community simply can't have. I have seen fraud devastate unsuspecting families and wreak havoc in our communities and worked countless hours helping North Carolinians seeking justice. I will bring real-life experience, compassion, and understanding to the bench.

5. What do you feel was the U.S. Supreme Court's most important recent decision? Did you agree with the majority? What is the role of that court in setting precedent for North Carolina's appellate courts?

One interesting case was Kelo v. City of New London, in which the Supreme Court addressed eminent domain. The 5th Amendment prohibits the government from taking private property for public use without just compensation. Traditionally, courts have limited the public use to tangible things such as parks or schools. In the Kelo case, the Supreme Court held that the government can take property from a private citizen and transfer it to another private party "for a common good," in this case, for economic development. I feel that this interpretation of the 5th Amendment gives too broad a definition to "public use." Of course, the Supreme Court is the law of the land for federal issues, and it gives the state guidance on issues of particular importance to our citizens.

6. Do you feel that North Carolina's current system of judicial elections serves the state well? Are there other forms of selecting judges you feel would function better or worse than the current one?

I favor having an elected judiciary, as I believe that it empowers the citizens of North Carolina and allows them to directly impact their government in a tangible way. Of course, along with that power comes responsibility – to become educated about the candidates and the issues and to exercise the right to vote.

7. Have you ever pled guilty or no contest to any criminal charge other than a minor traffic offense? Please explain.


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

Being an independent, I don't fit neatly into a box with predetermined views on issues. Some might like my "conservative" view on a particular issue and dislike my 'liberal" view on another or vice versa. While it isn't as easy to categorize me, I would hope that the people of North Carolina would value true independence and recognize that this is exactly how a judge is supposed to be. Judges should not take stands on issues or make rulings based upon public perception, popularity, or political party. They should seek to interpret the law and render fair and unbiased decisions based upon legal precedent. This is how I will conduct myself from the bench.

9. Do you favor or oppose applying a plain error review to all alleged errors in capital cases? Do you favor or oppose mandating appellate review in post-conviction capital cases to help avoid arbitrariness in review of post-conviction capital cases by superior court judges? Please explain.

I favor applying plain error review to all capital cases. A "plain error" is a fundamental error so basic that justice was not served, and one that may not have been objected to at the trial level. The question is whether the error had a probable impact on the finding of guilt. Given the gravity and finality of punishment in capital cases, a just system must review all errors of this nature to avoiding a miscarriage of justice. Expediency should never trump fundamental fairness. In that same vein, I would support mandating additional appellate review to ensure that all capital defendants received the highest level of due process possible.

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