LUMBERTON — Two more people have entered the race for District Court bench positions in Robeson County that are up for election on Nov. 6, bringing to five the number of candidates for three seats.
Assistant District Attorney Vanessa Burton and Robeson County Assistant Public Defender Jack Moody Jr. filed this week for the District Court seat that will be vacated with the retirement of Judge Herbert L. Richardson.
The candidate filing period ended at noon Friday.
According to information provided to The Robesonian, Burton has served the North Carolina 16B Judicial District in Robeson County for nearly 30 years. She said she has worked thousands of cases, and has experience in trial work in District, Superior and Juvenile courts, including prosecuting murders, robberies, burglaries, rapes, DWI cases and drug trafficking.
Burton, a Democrat, is also the first woman hired to serve in the Robeson County District Attorney’s Office, where she serves as the senior assistant district attorney.
“I am running for District Court judge because I am concerned with the continued increase in crime in our county and its impact on our families and communities,” Burton said in a statement. “The illegal drug activity and drug addiction in Robeson County leads to robbery, theft and violent attacks on our citizens and is destroying our quality of life.
“Before moving to Robeson County, I worked at Wachovia Bank as a corporate trust officer and bond manager but the job was unfulfilling because it was so impersonal. I needed a personal connection in my practice of the law so I chose to move to Robeson County because I would get the chance to serve the citizens as a prosecutor. During my tenure I have served as the voice of citizens whose lives have been impacted by crime, regardless of race, gender, citizenship or financial status, and I have fought for justice in every case. I have been fair and honest with every person accused of a crime. I believe that the citizens of Robeson County deserve a fair and impartial judge who will serve all those who come before the court regardless of whether they are a victim of a crime or accused of a crime. I believe the court belongs to the people and that they are entitled to be heard and treated with respect when they enter court.”
A native of Durham, Burton was one of the first African-Americans to integrate Morehead Elementary School. She graduated with honors from Hillside High School and received a bachelor of arts in Speech Communications from the University of North Carolina. She obtained her law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law.
Burton is a member of Sandy Grove Baptist church. She serves as a board member on the North Carolina State Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators and she is the chairperson of the Robeson County Bar Association continuing legal education and professionalism committee. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and a charter member of the Lumberton Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She has served as president of the Robeson County Bar Association, where she established the John Wishart Campbell Professionalism Award. She is a former board member for the Robeson County Rape Crisis Center and the Southeastern Family Violence Center.
According to information provided, Moody was born and raised in the Centerville Church Community of Robeson County. He is the son of the late Jack Hal Moody, who was one of the three owners of Lindsay Campbell Oil in Lumberton, and Alice Faye Moody, who was the office manager of Pepsi Bottling Company of Lumberton. He has been married to Alicia Greene Moody, of Fairmont, for 22 years, and they have one son, 9-year-old Xan Moody.
Moody, a Republican, graduated from Fairmont High School as the Class of 1983 valedictorian. He graduated from the University of North Carolina n 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science/Criminal Justice. He graduated from the Norman Adrian School of Law at Campbell University in 1990, and participated in the Notre Dame Summer London Law Program in London.
“I began my practice of law in private practice with Huggins and Rogers in Lumberton, North Carolina,” Moody said in a statement. “After a year with Huggins and Rogers, I was going to work with my father until being approached by Angus Thompson, the public defender of Robeson County, to work with him. I served the people of Robeson County under his leadership as an assistant public defender for 24 years. I continued to work with Ronald Foxworth, current public defender of Robeson County, where I have primarily represented people at the District Court level.”
Moody is a member St. Albans Masonic Lodge in Lumberton, and a member and past president of the Robeson County Shrine Club. He was a member of the Sudan Tomcats. Moody is past director of the Fairmont Civitan Dixie Youth Baseball League in Fairmont, a past member Civitan Club in Fairmont, and past president of the Robeson County Bar Association, District 16B in Lumberton.
Moody has served as a deacon and Sunday School director at Centerville Baptist Church. He now attends First Presbyterian Church in Lumberton.
Moody was frank about mistakes he made as a youth.
“In my late teens and early 20s, I had two DWI’s, 1984 and 1990,” Moody said. “I am human like everyone and made two bad choices. In turn, this has helped me as a person and as an attorney in representing my clients with a genuine heartfelt passion.
“In closing, I hope to continue serving the people of Robeson County. With 26 years experience in District Court, I hope to continue to make a difference for the people of Robeson County.”
Also running as District Court judges for Robeson County are Robeson County Assistant District Attorney Angelica Chavis McIntyre, a Democrat, and District Court Judge Dale Deese, who is unaffiliated. They are seeking the seat now held by Deese.
Robeson County Department of Social Services attorney Brooke Locklear Clark, a Democrat, is the lone candidate for the seat being vacated by Judge J. Stanley Carmical, who will become a Superior Court judge.