Governor taps Doug Green for district court judgeship

Attorney Doug Green has been appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to fill the remaining 10 months in the term of district court judge Rick Champion, who resigned in December in order to become the county’s first public defender. Cooper made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

Green was one of three attorneys recommended by the county’s bar association in December to fill the balance of Champion’s term; he has also filed for the seat which will be on the ballot in November.

Green’s appointment could also help the workload in district court, where there have been only two of four judges on the bench this month.  In addition to Champion’s resignation to become public defender, district court judge Brad Allen retired several weeks ago, leaving only chief district court judge Kathryn “Katie” Whitaker and judge Larry Brown to preside over district court cases.  They have been assisted by visiting judges from other counties.

A Democrat like Cooper, Green had previously run for the same district court judgeship in 2020 – only to lose out to Champion, a Republican, in that year’s general election.

In November, Green faces Republican Craig Turner, a Burlington attorney who is also currently a member of the county’s board of commissioners. Turner was another of the bar association’s recommendations, as was N. Morgan Whitney of the district attorney’s office.

Green was the top nominee of the bar members who gathered on December 1 with 35 votes; Turner was second with 30, and Whitney was third with 22.

The top three nominees for the district court judgeship caused by the move of district court judge Rick Champion to become the county’s first public defender: (left to right) C. Doug Green who got 35 votes, the top slot on this roster; N. Morgan Whitney, the third-pace finisher with 22 votes; and W. Craig Turner, the second highest vote-getter with 30 votes. Photo taken after the December 1 vote.

Green currently serves as an Assistant Attorney General in the North Carolina Department of Justice. Previously, Green worked as an attorney with Smith Giles, PLLC, and in the Alamance County District Attorney’s Office. Green received his Bachelor of Arts from Duke University, his Masters in Business Administration from Elon University and his Juris Doctor from the North Carolina Central University School of Law.

“Doug Green is a highly accomplished attorney and brings years of legal experience to this position,” said Governor Cooper. “I am grateful for his willingness to step up and am confident he will serve the people of Alamance County with distinction.”

Under state law, the governor is urged to consider the recommendations of the bar association, although he is not limited to their recommendations.   Up to five nominees could have been sent to the governor, but only three applied to be on the ballot at the special-called meeting on December 1.

Under the association’s bylaws, each voting member could select either one, two, or three names to recommend to the governor – with no option to write in any other candidates.

See earlier coverage:

Bar Association recommends three attorneys for gubernatorial appointment as district court judge: