At last report, former judge Jacqueline Morris-Goodson, 57, was living in Oxford, N.C., near a number of relatives. She is not listed in Martindale-Hubbell, the legal directory, and does not appear to be practicing law actively.
A 1973 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a 1976 graduate of the N.C. Central University law school, Morris-Goodson practiced civil, criminal and domestic law in Wilmington in the early 1980s. In 1983, Gov. Jim Hunt appointed her to the District Court for the state’s 5th Judicical District (New Hanover and Pender counties) — the first African-American woman to serve on the bench in this area.
A Democrat, Morris-Goodson won three subsequent elections without opposition, and from 1992 to 1996, she served as chief District Court judge for the local district. She remained on the bench until 1996, when she was defeated in the general election by Judge John J. Carroll III, a Republican. Supporters claimed Morris-Goodson’s race was a factor in her defeat; opponents claimed she spent too much time away from her court duties.
Morris-Goodson returned to private practice in criminal defense and domestic law in Wilmington from 1997 to 2001. In February 2003, she was reprimanded by the N.C. State Bar after failing to appear for the first two days of a murder trial in Brunswick County, leaving a client without representation. Later that year, she went on inactive status with the State Bar for an unspecified disability.
On Dec. 14, 2005, Morris-Goodson — who was living in Oxford at the time — pleaded guilty in Wake County District Court to charges of willfully failing to file North Carolina income tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001. She was placed on probation for one year and was fined $100 plus court costs. She also filed returns for the three years as part of the settlement.
As a judge, Morris-Goodson had served on several panels with the N.C. State Bar Association. In 1986, she was named a “Woman of Achievement” by the local YWCA.
Date posted: June 19, 2009
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