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Whatever happened to Jacqueline Morris-Goodson?

Ben Steelman

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.

User-contributed question by:
Jerry Hardee

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8 Responses to “ Whatever happened to Jacqueline Morris-Goodson?”

  1. On June 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm CHIQUITA MARTIN wrote:

    Will the persons without sin please stand up? There are none. It’s a shame we’ve forgotten about all the good she has done. Even though she was in the public eye at one point she did a lot for some of you in our community. She was even a role model to many.

  2. On June 30, 2009 at 8:30 am Joyce wrote:

    Yes, she did!!

  3. On August 25, 2009 at 4:55 pm Jeanette Clarkson wrote:

    I have been a personal friend with Judge Goodson for many, many, years. I can’t begin to said all the wonderful things she stands for and the wonderful things she has done. She is truly a great mentor, friend, colleague, mother, wife and christian women. I have seen her help so many low income kids in many, many ways. I have seen her counsel many people in many different situations. She is a true women of God. A Virtuous Woman in every way.

  4. On September 23, 2009 at 5:03 pm dr simmons wrote:

    we need you Judge Goodson, if you would please e-mail me please i have a question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sincerely dr simmmons miss you1

  5. On October 1, 2009 at 12:34 am JaRon Goodson wrote:

    A friend told me about this article and its good to know that my mother shined a positive light on the “City of Wilmington”. As for my mother she is doing well, she has been working for a law firm in Oxford, NC (outside of Raleigh)as well as the Penn Avenue Baptist Church. She moved home to care for her parents, my grandmother and grandfather, as I will do her the second she needs me. Yea I guess you can say it got rough at one point, I say with that kind of pressure on a Black Woman of her stature, rank, or position in a “Massively Majority” white city, she lasted way longer anf further than she was supposed to to. (smile) She was one of the few people that actually cared, regardless of your background, she saw the good in you. As from the comments left you can see my mother is and will always be loved by the community that she tried so hard “Rise Up”. Thats the exact thing that scared the opposition. They wanted her gone and I wanted to leave. lol I Love the “Port City” but I can say without a doubt I wouldnt be where I am and accomplished the things I have if we hadnt left and moved to Raleigh, and my mother probably would be dead from stress. So nothing happened to her, she jus got away from stuff like this. We still visit from time to time and almost every Christmas. If you would like to contact her, just leave me a email and ill make sure she gets it. Thank You and God Bless.

    JaRon Goodson
    Fayetteville State University
    Department of Teacher Education
    1200 Murchison Road
    Fayetteville, NC 28301

    sent via blackberry mobile

  6. On December 5, 2009 at 6:01 am john wrote:

    I cant believe that someone would use “race” as a reason for Morris-Goodson not being reellected !! She did more harm to African-American men than any other. She spent more time on child support cases than Murder cases. I am a U.S. soldier and I support Judge Carroll 100%….. Fair is Fair….no matter what race you are.

  7. On April 16, 2010 at 4:56 am Anne Russell wrote:

    I have been very sorry that Judge Morris-Goodson fell prey to human foibles which destroyed her professionally. She was an intelligent attorney and judge who carried the banner for women and minorities, and I hope she has found healing as she rehabilitates herself.

  8. On January 26, 2018 at 8:50 am Jeanette wrote:


    As a Wilmington native I absolutely agree that it was all about race because Wilmington is full of backwards old racist and always has been. Anytime a community recognizes and promotes things that a woman of her statue did and make it about her playing favorites clearly is all about race. Truth is the majority of the people who attacked her and her work was simply mad because an African American Woman was doing such great work and had so much respect in the community for her work. Wilmington has always been and still is full of racist Caucasians who’s hatred for people because of the color of their skin shows nothing but their own insecurities and ignorance. I’m so glad she left and is living a wonderful life. White Caucasians will not see the racism in themselves because they choose not to see it. Please keep in mind that God will judge you and you will have to give an account of your hatred to God.

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