The County Clerk’s office is the public face of our court system. People may find themselves engaging with the office during the most challenging moments of their lives, and it is our responsibility to make them feel welcome and to partner with those seeking to improve access to justice.
At a time when the criminalization of poverty is a growing concern, and when LGBT people, wishing simply to lead their lives and care for their families, are forced to deal with the vagaries of antiquated or inadequate laws, we must demand a user-friendly office that recognizes the dignity of everyone in need of its services. When collecting fines and fees, for example, we must have in place efficient processes that not only protect against possible fraud, but that is also tempered with discretion so as not to perpetuate the criminalization of poverty in our community.
If, indeed, you find yourself at the Clerk of Court’s office, you are probably not having a good day. You are either dealing with a citation, have been charged with a crime, planning on suing someone, or being sued yourself. Perhaps you are there because a loved one needs a guardian, or there’s been a recent death in your family and probate proceedings need to begin. Maybe you’re a couple who only recently was allowed to marry under North Carolina law, but has found as you begin planning for a family, that the laws, which should protect the rights of your children and you as a parent, have not caught up with your lived reality.
These are circumstances that require the highest degree of professionalism and an exercise of judicial discretion that ensures all are treated with respect and dignity. It is the existence of these and other such circumstances and challenges that fuels my desire to serve Orange County as Clerk of Superior Court, and to provide the measured, confident, and broad-minded leadership our community requires.
Read more in my responses to the Indy questionnaire.