On Thursday, May 9, 2024, The Charlotte Observer reported that North Carolina Chief Justice Paul Newby has refused to provide details on his decision to replace Mecklenburg County’s top district court judge.

Judge Elizabeth Trosch had served as the chief district court judge in Mecklenburg County for the past four years. However, on May 1st, Chief Justice Newby removed Judge Trosch from this leadership position and installed Judge Roy Wiggins in her place.

When asked about his reasoning for the change, Graham Wilson, a spokesperson for the state Administrative Office of Courts, told The Observer that the judicial branch would not comment on the decision. The newspaper also requested an interview with Chief Justice Newby to understand his decision-making process, but he declined to provide any comment.

Judge Trosch remains on the bench but will be transitioning to juvenile court next month. She said the only explanation she received from Chief Justice Newby was that he wanted to go in a “different direction” without elaborating further. Both Judge Trosch and the newly appointed Judge Wiggins are Democrats, while Chief Justice Newby is a Republican.

As the previous chief judge, Judge Trosch oversaw the district court’s pandemic response and transition to a new electronic filing system. Local judges commended her leadership style in a letter, saying her involvement of other stakeholders aided significant changes.

This is not the first time Chief Justice Newby has replaced a judge without explanation. Earlier this year, he removed the chief judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals without stating his reasons.

By refusing to disclose his rationale for replacing Judge Trosch, Chief Justice Newby has left local justice system officials uncertain as to his decision-making process for such important administrative judicial roles. His lack of transparency regarding these replacements has sparked questions about his rationale.



Source: The Charlotte Observer