From the Courier Tribune by Megan Crotty
The North Carolina Supreme Court made a stop in Asheboro Tuesday during its 200th anniversary tour of the state. Randolph is just one of about 20 counties that will host the justices.
Meeting in the Historic 1909 Courthouse on Worth Street, the Supreme Court heard arguments for a criminal and a civil case. In the early session, the justices received both sides of The State v Quinton Sharod Taylor in which Taylor has petitioned to withdraw his guilty plea in a murder case.
In the second session, the court heard arguments in The City of Charlotte v University Financial, which deals with a dispute over disbursements for a condemnation case connected with private property taken over by the city as part of a rail project.
The court will render decisions on the cases in the coming months.
For Senior Associate Justice Paul Newby, it was a homecoming of sorts. He was born in Asheboro and spent a portion of his childhood near Seagrove. He took credit for bringing the Supreme Court to Randolph County.
“I am why we came here,” he said after the second case adjourned. “They deferred to my senior status and acceded to my request. We’ll try to go to all the justices’ (home counties).”
Newby was introduced to the audience prior to the early case. He said, “I’m the only justice in history born in Randolph County. The Newbys were Quakers in northwest part of the county.”
During his formative years, he said, he spent time on the farm of his grandfather, Walter Parks, and his grandmother, Fleta Luck Parks. His grandmother was a cousin of Ivey Luck, a founder of Luck’s Cannery in Seagrove.
“I still pay taxes in Randolph County,” said Newby, who owns property here. His mother was a teacher at Seagrove School and his father was a linotype operator. They later moved to Jamestown when his father found a job in Guilford County.
Newby said he does civic education and often goes to schools to talk about our state’s judicial foundations. He is author of “The North Carolina Constitution with History and Commentary” and is working with a co-author on Chief Justice Richmond Pearson of the Civil War period.
Justice Robin Hudson spoke prior to the civil case. She said she went to high school in Greensboro but “spent a lot of time here.”
Hudson was elected first to the Court of Appeals before successfully running for Supreme Court in 2007. Other associate justices are Sam J. Ervin IV, Michael Morgan, Anita Earls and Mark Davis. Davis did not attend the Asheboro session as he was observing Rosh Hashana, a Jewish holy day.
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley said the statewide tour came about when the court was considering “creative ways to commemorate 200 years.” According to state law, the state’s highest court can only meet outside Raleigh in the cities of Edenton and Morganton. Approval had to be given by the General Assembly to allow for the tour.
The 200th anniversary tour started last year and will continue through next year. The justices met Monday in Salisbury and were scheduled to hold court Wednesday in Winston-Salem.
“We wanted to go to places of great historic value,” said Beasley. “There’s value to take our work to the people. We’re excited and grateful to be here, that people are willing to put in much of their time.
“Randolph is one of the oldest counties in the state,” Beasley said. “It was here to help begin the formation of our state.”
A lesson for students
Because the historic courtroom space was so limited, Randolph Community College livestreamed the sessions Tuesday in the JB & Claire Davis Corporate Training Center, in the Continuing Education and Industrial Center on the Asheboro Campus.
Randolph Early College High School students Jackson Troutman, Maxwell Courtemanche and Miguel Duque were there as part of their Civics and Economics class with teacher Shannon Darcy. The class had attended Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s talk last month.
“This is more hands-on,” Troutman said. “We can develop a deeper understanding of what’s actually happening. I find law and the rule of law pretty cool. I find it interesting, especially knowing what’s allowed. I’m glad we had the opportunity. Not many people can say they’ve seen a Supreme Court case.”
“It gives you a general idea of what’s going on in North Carolina,” Duque said. “We’re here, we’re studying, we’re in our little lives, going home, doing our things as teenagers and we don’t really get to see things like this — what’s actually going on. They mentioned some kind of shot, and someone got robbed, property got stolen — all the stuff you don’t usually see.
“Some parts I could understand, but when they started talking about the laws with long numbers and letters next to them — I’m going to ask Ms. Darcy if we’re going to learn what those laws actually are in terms of North Carolina law.”
“It’s a new experience that we usually wouldn’t be able to see,” Courtemanche said.