ASHEVILLE, N.C. (January 29, 2014) – J. Matthew Martin announced today that he is seeking election to the Buncombe County District Court seat currently held by Judge Edwin Clontz. Martin is a retired associate judge of the Cherokee Court, with more than a decade of judicial service to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
“I believe in fairness you can trust. I believe in honesty and transparency. I am committed to due process and the equal protection of the law for all citizens of Buncombe County,” Martin said. “I want our court system to work for you, not against you.”
Martin is currently an attorney with a law practice in Asheville. He is an adjunct professor at the UNC and Elon University Schools of Law, and serves as a judicial fellow of the American Bar Association. Martin is also a member of the National Judicial College, teaching ethics to rural court judges across the country.
With recent financial cuts to the judicial system by the North Carolina General Assembly, judges face the burden of increasing pressure on the court system with fewer available resources.
“Our most capable and innovative attorneys must step up and answer the call to service during these challenging times,” said Martin.
Judge Martin is committed to protecting children, focusing on domestic violence and addressing the unique service-related issues of veterans. During his tenure on the Cherokee Court, Martin successfully obtained an appropriation of $400,000 in federal funds to create the Cherokee Safe Babies Court Team—the first of its kind in North Carolina. This team of multi-disciplinary professionals—including physicians, nutritionists, pediatric nurses, therapists and public assistance workers—safely intervenes in the lives of infants and toddlers who are maltreated or abused.
Additionally, Martin helped improve the Cherokee Court system by combining civil and criminal domestic violence court dates into one session. This simple action efficiently streamlined the judicial process, gave greater access to information for all parties, and reduced re-victimization of battered women, men and families.
Judge Martin will pursue the establishment of a veterans court to address the unique service-related needs of veterans within the criminal justice system. Currently, Buncombe County has specialized courts for drugs, DWI’s and nuisances. The county also has one of the finest VA hospitals in the country.
“Why can’t we have a veterans court right here in Buncombe County?” asked Martin. “There are a number of these courts across the country and they are effective, efficient systems for the men and women who have served our country.”
The district courts hear the vast majority of North Carolina’s criminal cases, particularly those involving misdemeanors, as well as civil infractions. District courts hear juvenile cases involving children under the age of 16 who are delinquent and children under the age of 18 who are undisciplined, dependent, neglected or abused. District courts also hear domestic violence protective orders and civil cases such as divorce, custody and child support.
“I have a deep background in criminal law and experience in all kinds of matters that come before the district court of Buncombe County,” said Martin. “I am excited to offer my experience as a judicial leader to give back to my community.”
The primary election for district court will be held on May 6, 2014.