Judges 

Nonpartisan elections based on nominations in different districts. Rotate every 6 months to avoid favouritism among attorneys.

Roles

Ensuring court proceedings are fair by enforcing these rules:

  • What evidence can be presented in a trial. Judges should prevent lawyers from presenting bad evidence, such as evidence obtained by an illegal search or coerced confession, or evidence that is irrelavant
  • When a party can have access to another party’s evidence. Rules relating to when a party must hand over evidence to another are called “rules of discovery.” Judges are tasked with enforcing them 
  • Grant bail and decide for how much
  • Sentence a defendant

Superior Court

In civil court:

  • Cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds $25,000
  • Appeals from administrative agencies
In criminal court:

  • All felony cases
  • Certain misdemeanor cases
  • Appeals of misdemeanor infraction cases from District Court

District Court

In civil court:

  • Cases where the amount in controversy is less than $25,000
  • Divorce and alimony cases
  • Custody cases
  • Child support cases
In criminal court:

  • Misdemeanors
  • Infractions
  • Juveniles

District Attorneys

District attorneys, sometimes called prosecutors, are the most powerful players in the judicial system. DAs are elected every four years.

Roles

Promoting social justice by:

  • Helping to create safe communities
  • Ensuring only the GUILTY are punished
  • Being fair and honest
  • Promoting policies and procedures that promote racial equity in the justice system

Nationwide

In general, DAs have the power to:

  • Determine if a person will be charged with a criminal offense
  • Decide what charge the accused will face
  • Provide access to certain tools that the DA controls
  • Decide to offer a plea agreement and/or reduce the charges against the defendant
  • Determine if the defendant will face the death penalty
  • Investigate the killing of a citizen by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty

North Carolina

Under North Carolina law, DAs have the power to:

  • Decide how long a case will wait before going in front of a judge
  • Present a case in court against all persons accused of a crime
  • Advise law enforcement officers
  • Handles appeals of criminal cases, with the assistance of the Attorney General

Click on the county map below to find your District Attorney!

District 30 District 29B District 16C District 20A

Sheriffs 

Nonpartisan elections by qualified voters. Sheriffs hold office for a period of four years.

Roles

Ensuring social justice by :

  • Helping to create and maintain safe communities
  • Making jails more hospitable and humane
  • Ensuring prisoners have access to appropriate mental and physical health care
  • Working collaboratively with the advocacy community

Law Enforcement

  • Traffic control
  • Accident investigations
  • Transportation of prisoners

Court Duties

  • Maintaining the safety and security of the court
  • act as bailiff
  • Take charge of juries whenever they are outside the courtroom
  • Serve court papers such as subpoenas, summonses, warrants, writs, or civil process
  • Extradite prisoners
  • Enforce money decrees

Jail Administration

  • Maintain and operate county jails, detention centers, detoxification centers and community corrections facilities
  • Determine how well a loved one is treated and cared for in jail
  • Determine if your loved one gets medical care in jail

Made by the Institute of Politics Tech Team at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill