Cooper announces judicial appointment, legislative confirmation of 2 others

Jonathon Sargeant

Gov. Roy Cooper announced an appointment today to the District Court bench.

Jonathon Sargeant will serve as a District Court Judge for Greene, Lenoir and Wayne counties. He is replacing Chief Judge David Brantley, who resigned on March 31.

Sargeant served as an attorney in private practice for over 25 years and has been a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Family Law since 2001, according to the Governor’s Office. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Two of Cooper’s judicial nominees were also confirmed last week by a joint resolution of the General Assembly. Chief District Court Judge J. Stanley Carmical was confirmed to fill a Special Superior Court vacancy created on May 2. Chief District Court Judge Athena Fox Brooks was confirmed to fill Special Superior Court vacancy created on May 16.

“These North Carolinians are committed to justice and public service,” Cooper said in a statement. “I’m grateful for their willingness to fill these important roles in our legal system.”

Lawmakers also voted last week not to confirm another one of Cooper’s appointments — Bryan Beatty, who was nominated to fill a Special Superior Court vacancy created March 6.

Bryan Beatty

Beatty served as a Commissioner for the North Carolina Utilities Commission for nearly a decade and he was previously Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety and Director of the State Bureau of Investigation.

Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) recommended Beatty on the House floor for the position, but most Republicans voted against him. No one spoke out about why they voted not to confirm Beatty.

Ford Porter, a spokesman for Cooper, said in an email last week that Beatty has been recognized as one of North Carolina’s most prominent African-American leaders and he appeared before three separate legislative committees during the confirmation process without any opposition from legislators.

Republicans’ vote against Beatty, Porter said, is a continued effort to seek inappropriate influence over the judicial branch.

“Make no mistake, these same legislative leaders had no problem confirming former-Governor McCrory’s staffer Andrew Heath to a similar position,” he added. “This is yet another instance of Republicans working to inject partisan politics into our courts.”

Heath was a budget director to former Governor Pat McCrory. He was appointed during a special session to a judgeship and is now running for a seat on the state Court of Appeals.

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