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            The Fayetteville Press








                                                        www.fayettevillepress.com                                                                                 Call Theresa Frett
                                                                                                                                                                  (910) 551-3331


        Volume 31  No. 3                                                                                           March Primary  2020 Edition  *   (910) 323-3120                                                            Fayetteville, NC




                        Judge Ed Pone makes history; the first African American


                               to lead Cumberland County’s District Court System




                                                                     cialist.  “The  number  of  programs
                                                                     that  he  has  instituted  and  spear-
                                                                     headed,  particularly  for  our  chil-
                                                                     dren, are wonderful examples of his
                                                                     leadership. And all of you who know
                                                                     Ed know that his work ethic is ab-

                                                                     solutely amazing,” said Tally. In the
                                                                     fall of 1989, Ed Pone left the Pub-
                                                                     lic Defender’s Office to go into pri-
                                                                     vate practice with the law firm of
                                                                     Rand,  Finch  &  Gregory.  He  also
                                                                     presided at several sessions of civil
                                                                     court  in  Cumberland  County  after
                                                                     becoming  a  District  Court  Judge.

           Story by Jae Mckrae - www.fayettevillepress.com           “I’ve  been  doing  a  lot  of  juvenile
                                                                     cases,  domestic  cases,  rotating
           Once  Judge  Edward A.  Pone  was  sworn  in around  to  the  criminal  cases,  and
       by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley as chief district I’m also the Family Drug Treatment
       court  judge  for  Judicial  District  12  covering Court judge for those cases of par-
       Cumberland County, he made history. Chief Jus- ents who have substance abuse is-
       tice Beasley was also instrumental in appointing sues,” Pone said.
       Judge Pone to serve as chief district court judge.                 In 1996, Pone was appointed as
           Chief Justice Beasley recognizes Judge Pone’s a district court judge by Governor                                    Judge Edward A. Pone, after being sworn in by
       commitment.  “He  is  fair-minded  and  he  cares Jim  Hunt.  He  was  elected  and  re-                                         Chief Justice Cheri Beasley
       deeply about the impact of his work on the com- elected  to  that  position  six  times.
       munity and the individuals who stand before him,” To  help  young  people  turn  their water fountains during the 60s. “Still, I look forward to
       she  said.  “He’s  demonstrated  it  to  life-changing lives  around  remains  his  passion. the day when color doesn’t matter at all. I look forward

       programs like Family Drug Treatment Court and “A judge can have a powerful im- to the day when your skin tone has no relevance. I look
       the Misdemeanor Diversion Program, and he’s al- pact on a juvenile’s life,” he said.                      forward to the day when what country you came from
       ways invested in the success of the families com-                  Chief District Court Judge Rob- has no significance. I may not see it in my lifetime, but
       ing before the trial court.”                                  ert Stiehl III retired recently after still I have hope.”
           Judge  Ed  Pone  was  honored  and  recognized spending  more  than  25  years  as  a
       during  the  investiture  ceremony  held  at  Simon District Court judge and more than                         With additional responsibilities handling administra-
       Temple A.M.E. Zion Church. The Investiture cer- seven  years  as  a  county  prosecu- tive and scheduling duties for a court system with nine
       emony signifies the reliance and confidence that a tor.    Stiehl  expects  to  serve  as  an judges, Judge Pone has no plans for a lighter workload.
       group has in the newly invested office bearers.  In arbitrator or mediator and served on “I will still be carrying a full-time court schedule. “This

       attendance were his family, former classmates from the bench as an “emergency judge.” is an extra job on top of everything else. Attorneys, fam-
       the South View class of 1975, several friends as That means when other judges are ily, friends — many of them just assume that I may stop
       well  as  judges,  and  elected  officials.  His  proud sick or not available, he would fill some of the things that I’m already doing.” Pone is the
       community-active wife, Beverly Pone and daugh- in.                                                        presiding  judge  in  Cumberland  County  Family  Court,
       ter Kristen Dukes were also there.                                 When referencing his new role, both domestic and juvenile divisions. He is also the pre-
           Nearly 41 years ago in 1979, Judge Ed Pone Judge Pone says, “I am very mind- siding judge for Family Drug Treatment Court and the
       earned a B.A. from North Carolina Central Univer- ful that I am the first African Ameri- Misdemeanor Diversion Program.
       sity, and in 1982, he earned his law degree from can  to  serve  in  this  position,  and
       the  University  of  North  Carolina  at  Chapel  Hill with all due respect for the people                     In the future, Judge Pone is hoping the office gets
       School of Law. After graduating, Pone worked as of all races and hues, the African- more judges. According to him, “more are needed, but
       an assistant public defender under Mary Ann Tally. American experience is one that is that’s not my call,” Pone said. “It would be nice to have

       Today,  she’s  a  Superior  Court  judge.  “She  was very uniquely American. It is unique additional help. We are now down a judge because of
       the chief public defender at the time,” he said. “She in  many  ways.”  Growing  up  in Judge Stiehl’s (retirement). Until it is filled, we’ll oper-
       gave me my first start in the legal profession. I will Gray’s Creek area, his father was a ate with the nine that we have. But we work with each
       be forever grateful.” At Saturday’s swearing-in cer- sharecropper, Pone knew the value other fairly well in terms of coordinating and trying to
       emony,  Tally  said  Pone  is  “...among  a  string  of of  hard  work.  “My  mother  was  a get the people’s business done.”
       people who have worked in that office who have stay-at-home  mom,”  he  said.  “We
       gone on to become judges. He’s worked so hard grew up with hard work.” His par-                                At a young age, he felt a career as a lawyer was in
       for  the  children  of  our  community,  particularly ents were supportive and loving and his future. However, becoming the first African-Ameri-
       those  who  are  troubled,  particularly  those  who helped mold him into the man he is can chief District Court judge in Cumberland County for

       don’t have the families that the rest of us have.” today. He also remembers the hor- the 12th Judicial Circuit, is a result of his fairness, con-
       She added that Judge Pone was the first District rific signs of segregation, including sistency,  respect  of  his  peers  and  being  recognized  as
       Court judge to be certified as a juvenile court spe- those  for  “white”  and  “colored” tops in his chosen profession.
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