The Judicial Branch celebrated an important milestone in 2017, the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. 78 judges have served on the Court since its founding in 1967, and the Court has decided over 66,000 cases. The Court’s opinions have established justice, affected countless lives, and have set legal precedent that will be upheld for generations to come.

Given its broad reach and important place in North Carolina’s judiciary, communities across North Carolina celebrated the Court by inviting its judges to hold special court sessions in their county courthouses and justice centers. The Court held 10 special sessions across North Carolina which were attended by local attorneys, student groups, and the general public. These court sessions provided an opportunity to share the function of the Court of Appeals, and more broadly the role of the Judicial Branch, with citizens across North Carolina. Members of the local media were often present to cover cases and interview the judges who presided over the court sessions.

In May of 2017, two ceremonial sessions were held in the ornate Court of Appeals courtroom in Raleigh. During the ceremony, a 20 minute documentary covering the history of the court was shown, and remarks were given by Governor Roy Cooper, Chief Justice Mark Martin, Chief Judge Linda McGee, and former Chief Judges, Judge John Martin, Judge Sid Eagles, and Judge Gene Arnold. After the session, a ribbon cutting and unveiling was held for a commemorative “Judges Portrait Wall” which is a permanent display that contains a portrait of every Court of Appeals judge who has served on the Court since its founding.

The Court of Appeals 50th anniversary came to a close as 2017 expired, but this historic year will not be forgotten. The Court’s history has been preserved through the publication of a booklet entitled, “the History of the First 50 Years of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.” Accompanying the historical booklet, the commemorative events were recorded and preserved through the release of a promotional video entitled, “Court of Appeals 50th Anniversary Year in Review.” Through the booklet and video, future generations will have the opportunity to reflect on this milestone year, and build upon the Court’s legacy of justice for all North Carolinians.

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Court Categories: Court of Appeals