RALEIGH — The Wake County Superior Court has a new leader.
Chief Justice Mark Martin has appointed Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway to succeed senior resident Judge Donald Stephens, who will retire Nov. 1.
“Judge Ridgeway has served with distinction as Superior Court judge, dispensing fair and impartial justice without regard to the political implications of his decisions,” Martin said. “Experience is often the greatest teacher, and Judge Ridgeway is the longest-serving resident Superior Court judge in Wake County.”
Ridgeway, a Democrat, was elected to the bench in 2006. He was re-elected in 2014, and his current term will last until 2022. Ridgeway has presided over the Dickson v. Rucho redistricting lawsuit, which recently made its third appearance before the N.C. Supreme Court. He worked for the firm of Everett, Gaskins, Hancock & Stevens for 20 years before his election.
In his role as Superior Court judge, Ridgeway has presided over cases in more than 40 counties in North Carolina, and has adjudicated constitutional matters across the state.
As senior resident, Ridgeway will have administrative responsibilities for in the district and hold seniority over his colleagues on the court.
In redistricting challenges, the Wake County senior resident judge is supposed to preside over the three-judge panel, unless he is a former member of the General Assembly or otherwise unable to do so. In either instance, the chief justice will pick another resident Superior Court judge to head the panel.
Ridgeway has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from N.C. State University, and his law degree from the Campbell University School of Law, where he edited the law review.
Click here for more details on Stephens’ retirement.