Photo of Matthew Nis Leerberg

At a largely virtual investiture ceremony broadcast this morning on the Supreme Court’s Youtube page, The Honorable Paul Martin Newby took the oath of office to become our highest court’s 30th Chief Justice.  Newly minted Justices Phil Berger, Jr. and Tamara Barringer were also sworn in as the two junior-most associate justices on the Court.

As Beth noted last week, it is common for incoming jurists to take the oath on January 1, but then participate in a more formal investiture ceremony several days later.… Continue Reading

The new year will bring many changes to our state appellate courts.  Another big change was announced yesterday.  With Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda McGee retiring after over 25 years of service, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has appointed Judge Donna Stroud as the new chief of our intermediate appellate court, effective January 1, 2021.

Judge Stroud has served on the Court of Appeals since 2007—a tenure of 14 years. … Continue Reading

Over the weekend, the last undecided race for North Carolina’s appellate courts was resolved when Chief Justice Cheri Beasley conceded the race to Senior Associate—and Chief Justice-Elect—Paul Newby.   The race was extraordinarily close, with Chief Justice-Elect Newby ultimately prevailing by a margin of 50.0037% to 49.9963%.

After two rounds of recounts, and with various protests still pending, Chief Justice Beasley and Chief Justice-Elect Newby announced the amicable resolution on social media. … Continue Reading

A lot of mistakes can be fixed, but those depriving an appellate court of jurisdiction are not usually among them.  Unless the appellate court deems the appeal to raise issues of great importance and to present a compelling case for reversal, jurisdictional errors are usually fatal.

Those exceptions are rare.  But this week, a panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals found Doe v.Continue Reading

After three years of exemplary service to our State, Matt Sawchak will step down as Solicitor General effective March 31, 2020.  General Sawchak–soon just “Matt” or “Professor Sawchak” again–has represented the State with aplomb in state and federal appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the United States Supreme Court.

Deputy Solicitor General Ryan Park will step into the lead role on April 1.  … Continue Reading

It continues to amaze me how difficult it is for the public to access basic information about the upcoming elections for open seats on the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the Court of Appeals.  While stories with political angles find their way into the press, the fundamentals—which seats are open, why those seats are open, who is running, why voters should care—get little coverage. … Continue Reading

You may have noticed a lull in new posts here over the holidays.  There’s good reason: we’ve been renovating the site, like a hotel adding an omelet station to its continental breakfast. We had to break a few eggs in the process, but it was well worth it.

The key changes:

  • The blog should load faster—much faster.
  • We consolidated our many linked resources into fewer tabs on the top of the main page.
Continue Reading

paper people chain and gavelMichelle Connell is one of the few lawyers in North Carolina who is Board-certified in both family law and appellate practice.  And as of last week, she’s now part of our appellate team!

I’ve always been amazed at just how many family-law appeals are heard by our Court of Appeals.  Pull the latest annual statistical report, and you’ll see:  about 20% of that court’s civil docket consists of domestic cases—divorce, equitable distribution, child custody, child support, alimony, and so on. … Continue Reading

Beth and Matt’s treatise, North Carolina Appellate Practice and Procedure, is finally available!  Published by LexisNexis in both print and online versions, the treatise represents the culmination of several years, and many thousands of hours, of hard work.

The treatise grew out of the same circumstances that spurred us to create this blog in 2011.  The practice of law in North Carolina’s appellate courts can be procedurally tricky. … Continue Reading

Students of history will remember a bygone era known as late 2018, when Mark Martin was Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the median judge on the shrinking Court of Appeals was elected in 2012, and your parents had purchased enough CDs to elevate the quaint twangs of Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line to the top of the country music charts.… Continue Reading