Name: Thomas Taylor Republican Incumbent- Taylor Seat 27A
1. Why do you want to be a judge?
Because being a judge allows me to make maximum use of my experience
and training in the law to have a positive impact on Gastonia.
2. What sets you apart from the other judicial candidates?
My level and type of legal and judicial experience. I have successfully
represented clients at every level of state and federal court. I have practiced as a
private attorney and as a public (District Attorney). I was chosen by my peers to be
nominated as a candidate for this seat, and was chosen by the Governor to fill it, and
have successfully retained it unopposed for 8 years. During my years on the bench I
have continuously taken Judicial Education at the North Carolina State Judical
College to keep current on the law and improve my performance.
3. To what extent have you practiced in the area of criminal law? During the 1990’s
my solo practice was primarily felony criminal defense in both the state and
federal courts. I also spent four years as an assistant district attorney in Gastonia
Superior Court prosecuting and successfully convicting rapists, child molesters,
violent criminals and murderers.
Family law? As a private lawyer I handled complex child custody matters and
property division, alimony and appellate work. I have represented clients in every
phase of the Domestic Court. As a judge, I have handled complex equitable
distribution, child custody and termination of parental rights cases.
Complex Civil litigation? The first eight years of my practice was spent with law
firms doing civil jury trials for insurance companies. I am familiar with every
phase and stage of civil litigation in both the state and federal courts.
4. What do you see as the biggest problems within our judicial system?
The public’s lack of faith in our courts.
5. What do you believe are the limitations judges face with regard to the penal
system? Simple- Judges have NO control over how their sentences are carried out-
that is totally within the Department of Adult Corrections. We have no say in
whether a sentence is shortened, sometimes severely, for reasons not entirely clear to
6. What is your opinion on plea bargaining. A necessary evil. It can be very
effective if the prosecutor is experienced.
7. What tools would you like to see our society give judges to help them do a better
job? A clerk would be nice, and that would train young lawyers as well. Less
constraints on sentencing. The ability to follow the progress, (or lack thereof) of
8. Should judges legislate from the bench? NO. It is never warranted.
9. Only to the extent that the constitutions, as originally written, are still the best
guarantors of our rights. I do not believe rights “evolve” constitutionally.
10. How can we keep repeat offenders of our streets? I personally think we do a good
job of doing just that, subject to the constitutional constraints of our justice
system. That said, law enforcement and prosecutors must be given the
opportunity and tools to investigate and prosecute serious crime effectively.
11. Ankle bracelets should NEVER be used for violent or repeat offenders.
12. I try and expedite cases by vigorously administering my docket, and not lecturing
from the bench. I see my role as a service to the community, and work hard to
make my court efficient.
13. Tort reform is necessary, both for the justice system and public welfare. It would
do much to bring down health care costs and free up judicial resources.
14. The breakdown of the family and parental supervision. The court can hold
parents accountable for the way they supervise their children, and can ensure that
counseling and parental training are provided for and used by families in crisis.
15. I do not know. I do not currently have any information on the demographic
composition of our juries. But I strongly believe, from my own experience, that
our jury system is the best in the world.
16. Who is the target of the hate crime? What were the actual words used, and their
intent? Was the speech made to incite violence, or threaten, or to legally express
an opinion? When words become action, they lose their protected status.
17. The same practical commonsense considerations you use everyday. Is this a
repeat offender, is he (or she) a danger to the community or himself, is the source
of the criminal activity drug related, gang-related, or anti-social behavior. Has the
court previously given this defendant probation? To impose a lesser sentence I
would consider what the offender has done to address his crime and its victims,
and to make reparations without the court’s ordering such, and whether this is a
crime which was a result of something that is not likely to re-occur.
18. NO. By definition, if it is a crime, it puts our freedoms at risk in a manner
unacceptable to a civilized nation.
19. Limit the number of continuances attorneys may request without extraordinary
circumstances. I have streamlined the hearing of complex termination of parental
rights trials by placing them on one calendar and holding a specific monthly
session solely to address those cases, reducing the number of active cases and the
time to hearing significantly within the last two years.
20. I follow the 10th Amendment. It seems fairly clear to me that the federal
government has, by design, very limited powers over the States. The Supreme
Court of the United States, in recent decisions regarding the Commerce Clause,
seems to be scaling back on Federal power in a manner consistent with these