RALEIGH — Brooke Locklear Clark will be assuming the Robeson County District Court judge role for which she is a candidate before the Nov. 6 election.
Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Clark to fill the seat previously held by Chief District Court Judge J. Stanley Carmical, who recently was appointed to serve as a special Superior Court judge. Clark is unopposed in the election to fill Carmical’s seat.
Clark will be sworn in on Wednesday at 3 p.m. to fill the remainder of Carmical’s term, which ends Dec. 31. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Clark will win the election and be sworn in as a permanent District Court judge in January.
“Clark’s experience in the law and deep knowledge of her community make her an ideal choice to serve on the District Court bench in Robeson County,” Cooper said in a statement.
Carmical praised the choice.
“We’re excited about Brooke’s appointment. I think she’s going to be outstanding,” Carmical said.
Clark said she received Cooper’s call about her appointment on Thursday.
“It was very encouraging, and I was appreciative of his confidence in me,” Clark said. “… District Court judges have the opportunity to impact many lives because so many people come in before a District Court judge every week, and that’s really the reason I want to do it.”
Clark has practiced law in Robeson County for more than 13 years, including serving as the attorney for the county Department of Social Services. She is a Family Drug Treatment Court team member and a former parent attorney for the program that helps families dealing with substance abuse.
A native of Robeson County, Clark lives with her family in Pembroke, where she is active in her community and her church. Clark is the daughter of retired Superior Court Judge Gary Locklear and his wife, Molly. The retired judge now serves as town attorney for Pembroke.
“She’s just a better person than I am, and she will be a better judge than I am,” her father said.
Clark serves on the advisory committee for the local superintendent of schools and is a member of the board of the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library. Clark received her bachelor of arts and law degrees from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“In my work with Family Treatment Court and with DSS Court and a lot of the other courts, I’ve seen some powerful things happen and that’s where my heart is, in trying to help families and help these people,” she said. “Even in criminal court, we see people coming through who have problems, who have substance abuse issues. To be able to make a difference, that’s my passion, that’s what I want to do.”
Carmical said Clark has the relevant experience to take on the responsibility. She’s well prepared and she has a well-rounded background, he said.
“I think that Brooke has the ideal disposition for this position,” Carmical said. “Gov. Cooper couldn’t have picked a better person.”
It will be a great responsibility taking on Carmical’s seat, Clark said.
“I’ve told Judge Carmical that there’s some really big shoes to fill because it’s his seat and I’m filling the remainder of his term,” she said. “It’s a challenge and I’m going to put the work in and do my very best.”
There are two more seats up for election on Nov. 6. Robeson County Assistant District Attorney Angelica Chavis McIntyre filed to run for the District Court judgeship held by Judge Dale Deese. Deese filed for re-election to the bench seat he has held since April 2016 when he was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory in the wake of Judge John Carter’s retirement.
The other seat is currently being held by Judge Herbert Richardson, who has announced his retirement at the end of the year. Assistant District Attorney Vanessa Burton and Robeson County Assistant Public Defender Jack Moody Jr. have filed as candidates for Richardson’s seat.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.