More than change of sides

Dec. 27, 2012 @ 05:41 PM

Winning election as a district judge doesn’t simply send a lawyer from one side of the bench to the other.

For Amanda Stevenson, the process is already under way. She’s had a weeklong orientation course in Raleigh, where she was one of 22 new district court judges, and she’s shadowed other judges in District 9 in the last few weeks.

She’ll take her oath on New Year’s Day in the Granville County Courthouse. She goes to the bench in Granville on Wednesday, and takes her first turn in Vance County on Monday, Jan. 7.

Stevenson said her orientation classes were primarily review but there was new perspective with a different role in the courtroom.

She also added some judges benefit from the session after having served more specialized backgrounds at their respective practices with regard to criminal or civil areas.

“The course was mostly review, plus details on how to get in touch with the UNC School of Government if you have any questions,” Stevenson said. “The school is a valuable resource that we are very fortunate to have in this state.”

Stevenson is busy disposing of or transferring her client cases while working with court offices to work out scheduling details as judge. One of the detail issues is making sure none of her former clients end up on her docket.

“Right now we have January and February all scheduled,” she said. “I have until Monday to get done with my cases. I am finishing up some wills and power of attorney matters also.”

Stevenson said following her colleagues in Granville, Vance, Warren and Franklin counties has been a regular practice for newcomers among District 9 judges.

“I have been shadowing some of our judges, going to court with them, sitting in on cases and hearing from them about what went in to some of their decisions,” she said. “I am very excited to get started. I look forward to serving the people of this district.”

Stevenson will have another week of orientation-type activity in February, providing an opportunity to get feedback on actual courtroom experiences.

As Stevenson steps in, Quon Bridges will return to the other side of the bench.

“I loved serving the community as their judge,” Bridges said. “While yes, I really wanted to continue to do that, I want to thank all of the voters who participated in the election, and I thank all of the citizens for giving me the privilege and the honor to serve as their district court judge.”

Bridges said he was additionally thankful for the board of elections officials and volunteers who helped with some vote-count efforts that went beyond the call of normal duty.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.