STATE: Judges installed at the North Carolina Court of Appeals

Published 8:13 pm Monday, January 18, 2021

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RALEIGH — Judge Jeffery K. Carpenter, Judge April C. Wood, Judge Fred Gore, Judge Jefferson Griffin and Judge Darren Jackson were formally installed at the North Carolina Court of Appeals last week. Chief Judge Donna Stroud administered the oath of office. The swearing-in ceremony was virtual due to COVID-19 precautions. Guests, media, and the public attended the ceremony virtually via livestream.

Judge Carpenter
Judge Jeffery K. Carpenter joins the Court of Appeals after serving as a superior court judge. He grew up just outside of the town of Morven in Anson County, where he attended and graduated from Anson County Public Schools. Carpenter attended Wingate University before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he earned a bachelor of arts in political science. Shortly after graduating, he attended and graduated from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol 93rd Basic Training School. Carpenter served the State of North Carolina as a state trooper for approximately six years before attending law school at Campbell University, earning his juris doctorate degree.

After completing law school and passing the North Carolina bar exam, Carpenter returned to Anson County and built a litigation practice in the areas of criminal defense, domestic litigation and general civil litigation with the firm of Little, Carpenter, and Flake, PLLC, and later, with Carpenter and Flake, PLLC. He practiced law in Anson, Richmond, Stanly, and Union counties, formerly Judicial District 20.

In 2016, he was appointed to the superior court bench in Union County by Gov. Pat McCrory, won election to that office in November 2016, and later became the senior resident superior court judge for Union County. Carpenter was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in November 2020.

He is married to his wife of 24 years, Love Carpenter, and they have one son, Hugh, who is 15. Judge Carpenter and his family live in Union County.

Judge Wood
Judge April C. Wood joins the North Carolina Court of Appeals after serving as a district court judge for 18 years. She was first elected to the district court bench in 2002 in Judicial District 22, which includes Davidson, Davie, Iredell and Alexander counties. After the district was split in 2010, she was elected in Judicial District 22b which includes Davidson and Davie counties. Wood was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in November 2020.

Although her family is from North Carolina, she grew up in various places around the world, including Adak, Alaska, and Okinawa, Japan, while her father served in the United States Marines Corps. Throughout the years and many military duty assignments, her mother held various employment, the most rewarding of which was as a schoolteacher. Retiring after 23 years of military service, the family returned home to Lexington. Her father became a Davidson County deputy sheriff, and after retirement, continued to work part-time as a bailiff, often in Wood’s courtroom while she was a district court judge.

Wood graduated from Pensacola Christian College, summa cum laude. After earning her juris doctor degree from Regent University School of Law and passing the North Carolina bar exam in 1997, she opened a general practice law office in Thomasville, North Carolina. It was during this time that she became passionate about family law and became a certified family financial mediator in 2001. She was sworn in as a district court judge in 2002 and became a certified juvenile court judge during her first term. She is currently enrolled in the joint Campbell University School of Law and Nottingham University School of Law program to obtain her L.LM. in judicial studies.

Wood is a passionate and dedicated community leader. Believing our children are our future and desiring to positively impact as many children and young adults as possible, she has been a regular D.A.R.E. graduation speaker since 2003. She has been actively involved in several civic and charitable organizations and currently serves on the board of Cancer Services of Davidson County, Salvation Army of Davidson County, National Theological College and Graduate School, and the North Carolina Memorial Day and Celebration Committee.

Wood is married to her husband of 22 years, Jeffrey Berg, who is a practicing attorney, and they have three children: Alexis, Alexander, and Anthony. Wood and her family live in Davidson County.

Judge Gore
Judge W. Fred Gore joins the North Carolina Court of Appeals after serving as a district court judge. He grew up in Supply. After high school, he joined the North Carolina National Guard as an infantry soldier and completed basic and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Georgia, before leaving for college.

Gore attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he majored in business with a concentration in marketing, and obtained his B.S. and B.A. in 1998. He worked in the business world for several years with companies like Nike before going to law school. He was admitted to the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, and graduated with his juris doctor. In law school, he excelled as a well-rounded student and member of his community while completing over 300 hours of community service. He was also selected to Who’s Who of American Law Students in 2003 and 2004.

After law school, Gore’s National Guard unit was deployed to Iraq from 2006 to 2007. He served within his unit as a non-commission officer in charge. He finished his tour in Iraq, completed sniper small kill team training and earned the army commendation and army achievement medals. After returning home to North Carolina, he moved to Durham, and joined the Durham County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney. That same year, he became a commissioned JAG officer in the North Carolina National Guard.

Gore decided to leave Durham for his home district of Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus counties in 2011, and joined the District Attorney’s Office. Shortly after moving back home in 2011, he was mobilized again to serve his country in Kuwait with the 113th Sustainment Brigade. He served as the chief prosecutor and officer in charge for the brigade’s legal team. There, he supervised two practicing attorneys and seven paralegals. The 113th Sustainment Brigade provided command and control for over 2,200 soldiers in Kuwait and Afghanistan during the deployment. Because of his dedicated service while deployed, he was awarded the Army’s meritorious service medal and the commander’s coin for performance.

When he returned home in 2012, he rejoined the District Attorney’s Office. In 2014 while serving as a prosecutor, Gore was elected as a district court judge and served Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties. He obtained his certification as a juvenile court judge and served as the primary juvenile judge for the district until 2020.

Gore was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2020 and started his eight-year term in 2021. He is married to his wife, Shannon, and they have twin boys. He is a member of Big Macedonia Baptist Church, Prince Hall Masonic Lodge #786, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and serves on the executive board for the Cape Fear Council of Boy Scouts of America. Gore continues his military service in the United States Army Reserves, starting his 29th year as a major in the JAG corps.

Judge Griffin
Judge Jefferson Glenn Griffin joins the North Carolina Court of Appeals today after serving as a district court judge. He was born and raised on a farm in Red Oak in Nash County. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. Following his work as a charter fisherman on the North Carolina coast, he went on to earn his law degree from North Carolina Central School of Law in 2008. He began his legal career practicing civil and criminal defense in Kinston.

Griffin joined the Wake County District Attorney’s Office in 2010, where he prosecuted cases for five years. In 2015, he was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to be a district court judge in Wake County. He was elected to a four-year term in 2016 to retain his seat on the district court bench in Wake County, where he continued to serve until his election to the Court of Appeals in 2020. Griffin also serves as a captain and judge advocate in the North Carolina Army National Guard. He is assigned to the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team and deployed with the brigade to the Middle East in 2019-2020.

Judge Jackson
Judge Darren Jackson joins the North Carolina Court of Appeals today after serving as a North Carolina representative. A graduate of Duke Law School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he practiced law for 25 years with the firm of Gay, Stroud, and Jackson (later renamed Gay, Jackson, and McNally) in Zebulon, focusing on real estate and civil litigation matters. He also served for 12 years in the North Carolina General Assembly as the North Carolina representative representing District 39, which includes most of eastern Wake County.

Jackson is a father of three and lives outside of Knightdale with his wife Tina, and their Valley Bulldog Caroline. He is the grandfather of Ina Rose, his first grandchild. He and his family are members of Knightdale United Methodist Church.