Republican District Court Judge Candidate: Cindy Ellis
Published 2:04 pm Thursday, April 28, 2022
The following is information from one of three Republican candidates for Davie District Court Judge seat. Voters will select one; early voting started April 28 and the primary will be on May 17.
Overlook Drive, Advance
Husband, Spencer Newsome; 5-year-old twin boys, 1-year-old girl
Catawba College, bachelor’s degree in business administration; Charlotte School of Law, juris doctor
Attorney in private practice handling capital defense, criminal, juvenile, child custody, domestic violence
In the Community
• St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
• Member, Davie County Republican Women’s Club
Why did you decide to seek public office?
Ellis: My husband, Spencer, and I are foster parents. We have three beautiful foster children that we love and adore. Having experience in court proceedings that involved the department of social services and the children they remove gave us a unique perspective on fostering. District court judges make decisions that forever effect the lives of those children. My husband and I defend parents that are facing allegations of abusing or neglecting their children. The combination of defending those parents and being foster parents that provide love and safety to children who have been displaced from their homes provides a different perspective for me. I am in some form of juvenile court every week.
District court judges preside over a variety of cases including: custody, divorce, juvenile abuse, neglect, and dependency (commonly called DSS cases), juvenile delinquency, small claims appeals, misdemeanor crimes, and involuntary commitments. I currently practice in every one of these areas of law. Knowing the law and understanding how to apply it is the function of the judge. I have experience and knowledge in all types of district court proceedings.
After praying about it, having numerous discussions with my family and friends, I decided to seek this office. I want every citizen who appears in a courtroom to feel valued, respected and heard. These are some of the reasons why I decided to run for district court judge.
What is your work/life experience to qualifies you to be a judge?
Ellis: I practice law with my husband, Spencer, in Davie, Davidson, Rowan, Yadkin and Forsyth counties. I am in at least one district courtroom four days out of every five in a work week. I decided to become an attorney to help people. Since I have been practicing, I have always included indigent defense, commonly referred to as “court appointed” work as part of my practice. Spencer and I have argued cases in the appellate courts of the state. As an attorney on the capital defense roster, I also represent people charged with homicide offenses.
In a relatively short career, I have gained vast experience in a variety of cases. Having a general law practice has allowed me to help people with all types of cases. Helping people get a favorable resolution for their issue is the cornerstone of my practice. Whether it is child custody, divorce, or criminal charges, that case if the most important thing in their life at that time. The prospect of going to court for any issue can be scary. All people deserve to be treated with respect and to have their voice heard. All the actors involved should leave feeling that justice was done, win or lose. Judges play a crucial role in creating that feeling.
Does it matter if District Court Judges are Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative? Give reasons.
Ellis: Of course it matters if judges are Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative! As with any elected official, voters deserve to know what values the candidates have. With judges having so much discretion to rule how they see fit, their values and principles help voters predict what kind of judge that candidate would be.
A conservative district court judge will follow and apply the law as it is written. As recent cases have moved through the appellate courts and federal courts, some judges attempt to (and often succeed) in legislating from the bench. This is an unacceptable practice and good, constitutional conservatives at all levels of the judiciary could stop it.
We elect legislators to make law, judges should never attempt to do that job. Judges must follow the law, even if the judge personally does not agree with it. It is important to now what the candidates’ values are, their integrity, and their experience.
Ellis: As the only candidate with extensive, recent, relevant experience in all types of cases that are heard in district court, my platform focuses on families and children.
A district court judge spends a significant amount of time presiding over cases involving families and children. Whether it is a child charged with a crime, a child who has been alleged to have been abused or neglected, or a child whose parents cannot agree on a custodial agreement, these cases have far reaching impacts on the families involved and the community. Having been on every side of these cases, I am prepared to begin hearing those matters on day one, if elected.
As a foster parent, I am fully aware of the repercussions of a judge’s decision. A wrong decision can change the trajectory of a life. Parents can feel hopeless and regress into whatever behaviors created the issue initially. Children can be placed in homes that are unsafe and be further victimized.
As a community, we should all be striving to create a world where children are safe and loved. It takes a community to do that. As district court judge, I would protect the most vulnerable members of our community while also protecting the rights and privileges of parents. It is a difficult balancing act to do both. Experience in those types of cases is the key to being able to balance all the interests involved.