Questions for the Candidate: Rick Champion for District Court Judge

Vote for Rick Champion for District Court Judge to fill the vacancy left in Judicial District 15A Seat 3. Please show your support by liking and sharing this page. General election is Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions about Rick Champion

What is your understanding of the role of a District Court Judge?

District Court Judges have the most citizen contact. District Court Judges preside over all family law disputes and their decisions over equitable distribution, child custody and support are final, unless appealed to the NC Court of Appeals. They also preside over juvenile delinquency and petitions to remove children from abusive situations or homes where neglect is found. District Court Judges also have to address abortion requests from minors who do not want to notify their parents. They also preside over civil disputes not involving more than $25,000.00 and Small Claims Court appeals. These cases sometimes involve selecting juries to determine the facts. District Court Judges also have jurisdiction over domestic violence protective orders (50B). These hearings start out with the abused partner seeking emergency restraining orders from their abusers and once granted, preside over the hearing where both parties are present to offer evidence. District Court Judges also preside over misdemeanor criminal cases, probable cause hearings for felony cases and bond motion hearings.

What strengths would you bring to it should you be elected?

I have been a trial attorney for 36 years, a prosecuting attorney 13 years and an attorney in private practice for 23 years. This diverse experience makes me qualified for the responsibilities of a District Court Judge. I have been a trial attorney, prosecuting criminal cases from speeding to first degree murder. When I left the District Attorney’s office in 1996, I was handling the majority of the sexual assault cases with adult and child witnesses. That experience gave me an understanding as to how to deal with these special victims, which I feel equips me to handle these situations in family court. In private practice, I was partners with Clay Hemric, Clay Hemric Jr, Nancy Hemric, D. Thomas Lambeth (currently Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in Alamance County), Phillip Moseley, Kemp Liles, Morgan Whitney and Robert Giles. My former partners and I collaborated on cases that touched all the areas in which a District Court Judge has jurisdiction.
I became certified by the NC State bar as a specialist in criminal law in 1995. For almost 20 years, I agreed to accept cases in criminal court for clients who were not able to afford privately retained attorneys. This required a great many hours visiting inmates in the county jail, oftentimes going door to door, looking for clients who had not kept me up to date with their addresses. I also accepted cases on behalf of plaintiffs who were injured in negligence cases, such as car accidents and malpractice cases. In addition, I handled juvenile cases, child support cases and estate cases. My civil practice in personal injury was always limited to representing the plaintiff/injured client, never the insurance company.

District Court Judges are assigned both Civil and Criminal cases. Practicing attorneys often specialize in one or the other.

Which area do you have the most experience in and how would you handle coming up to speed on the other area?

After a few years, I did start limiting my practice to criminal defense and personal injury. I learned a long time ago to ask for help from experienced attorneys, clerks and social workers when I came across a case or subject with which I was not familiar. As the judge elect, I will be attending “New Judges School” before the swearing-in, which will be very helpful. Furthermore, for the first six months, I would strictly handle civil court because of my current position as an assistant district attorney. The state provides judges with research tools and legal advisers at the Institute of Government, which will provide me with necessary educational resources. Finally, 36 years of interviewing clients and witnesses has given me the proper experience of finding ways to get to the truth. I plan to make decisions on what is the right thing to do, even if my decision may not be popular.

Is there anything else you want voters to know?

I try to live my life on the simple plan of “Love God and love people.” I feel a judge has to have integrity, has to earn respect by respecting others, must be firm but fair, have the heart of a servant by being involved in the community, and finally should make judgements that offer hope to all people who come before the court. I have been involved with many charities in Alamance County the last 33 years and served on many local boards including: Rape Crisis, Mental Health, Child Fatality Task Force, and D.A.R.E. of Burlington.

Sorry, I no longer live in Alamance County and cannot vote for you. To all those who read this, I know Rick Champion well. In my career, I have tried many cases against him, observed how he treated people and witnessed his knowledge of the law. He was always fair, honest and well prepared. He will make a good judge.

James Walker

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