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N.C. District 15B - Judge Joseph M. Buckner - Issues/Complaints


Complaints related to Joseph M. Buckner - Chief District Court Judge of N.C. District 15B [Chatham and Orange counties]

(919) 644-4646


This forum is designed to encourage judicial reform. Justice is a right of all citizens not just a privilege of the wealthy and powerful.

Please feel free to post any comments that reveal defects in judgment or abuse of power related to the commission listed above. We also encourage posting issues related to unjust laws (keep in mind that there is a difference between a bad law and a bad judge).

If you are bursting with emotion and feel a need to rant/rave, please feel free (add "RANT" as the first line of your post).

Be aware that most judges have a difficult job and they do well in most instances -- if a mistake was made, the best method of preventing future mistakes of a similar nature is adopting a calm, long-term resolution to correct the error and applying pressure on the judicial system through legitimate sources.

Also, be aware that any posts that are libelous or harassing are prohibited on this site - keep in mind during any rants that describing your feelings about injustices is fine, however, allegations of wrongdoing should be supported by facts.


TIPS:
-Obtain advise from an attorney regarding your legal options.
-Wait a few days before making public allegations.
-Avoid letting your passion make you sound crazed.
-Carefully list all the injustices that you feel occurred.
-Separate the facts from the feelings.
-Research and gather support for your facts and feelings.
-Determine which points are most important to you.
-Think about which points could be most effective at creating reform (and realize that these are not necessarily the same points that are most important to you).
-Pursue your legal options to the fullest extent reasonable.
-Complain to the Judicial Standards Commission (if appropriate) -- it appears unlikely that the Commission will take any action (this forum was created after two complaints were dismissed without further investigation that alleged a total of approximately 64 violations of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct by a Chief District Court Judge in NC).
-The judiciary hates public attention drawn to its flaws.
-Make your feelings or arguments known to the local media - call an appropriate news radio or talk television program with your issues - write a letter to the editor to a local newspaper.
-Sticking to your talking points and using supported arguments will greatly increase the chances of affecting judicial behavior.
-Feel free to ask for help writing a complaint or letter to the editor.
-Don't give up until you feel satisfied that you have made a difference.

RESOURCES:
-NC Radio (by city)

-Links to N.C. Laws, Rules and other resources
-Legal Aid of N.C. (possibly free legal aid for individuals who can't afford an attorney)
-Judicial Standards Commission (complaints against NC judges)
-North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct (right-click to save pdf)

Pro Se RESOURCES (for representing yourself):
-North Carolina General Statutes
-NC Civil Procedure
-NC Rules of Civil Procedure
-Local Court Rules (select your county)
-Appellate Rules (right-click to save pdf)

*please post the county/address/number of the courthouse/courtroom where the case was heard.
**posts commending the legal system and judicial action are also welcome.




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Posted by: NorthWoodsMom on 01-15-2013

My husband recently lost a custody battle with his ex-wife despite the fact that the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) strongly advised the court that it would be in the best interest of the child to be placed with her father. The GAL based his recommendation mainly on the fact that the child shares a very strong emotional bond with her father and receives the bulk of her emotional support from her relationship with her father. The GAL described the mother as “detached” and “uninvolved” with the child. Additionally, the child – currently age 13 – voiced a strong preference to living primarily with her father (and continues to have that preference despite being denied by the court). Judge Joseph Buckner presided over this case.

We sincerely hope that Judge Buckner was not unduly influenced in his decision by biased sources. It troubles us that the mother’s former attorney, Lunsford Long, was appointed to be a judge in the same courthouse where our case was being heard, requiring the mother to hire a new attorney. The mother also comes from an extremely wealthy and well-connected family. We all know that judges are supposed to be objective in their decision-making; but we also know that judges are human and not always as purely fair and honest as we would hope them to be. In 1998, Judge Buckner was sued by one of his own staff for sexual harassment (he settled out of court) and has been formally reprimanded by the Appellate court for his actions as a judge. One custody case he handled in 2010 was described by the Appellate Court as an “entire charade.”

Buckner offered no explanation or reason for his decision. My husband appealed, but the Appellate Court upheld the Order saying “teenage girls need their mothers.” Again, the court ignored the GAL’s finding that the child does not have a close emotional bond with her mother and that the mother does not provide adequate emotional support to a growing, developing child.

Obviously we are upset that we lost custody of a child we deeply love. However, we also feel cheated by the legal system that we trusted to make a fair decision. Here are our specific grievances:

1. We were required by the court to pay $5000 for an objective recommendation that the court then ignored

The Court ordered and appointed a GAL to investigate the case. We were required to pay nearly $5000 for his time to investigate, write a report, and testify at the custody hearing. Yet the Court ignored the GAL’s recommendation without cause or explanation. It does not seem fair or legal that a court should be able to require citizens to pay thousands of dollars for an investigation that can be ignored on a whim.

2. Biased witness was given the same validity as the GAL.

The mother refused to cooperate with the GAL (refused to allow the GAL to observe her with her child) and then brought her own biased witness to testify that mother and daughter do indeed have a close, loving relationship. This witness has a financial interest in having the child remain with the mother since this person works for the private school where the mother pays tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and donations. Even though the witness testified that she had never even met the child and barely knew the mother, the Appeals court ruled that the testimony of this biased witness was equally valid to the GAL’s testimony, and therefore upheld the lower court’s ruling that the child should remain living primarily with her mother. We were shocked by this ruling – is there no precedent for valuing the recommendation of an expert, professionally trained, objective, court-appointed investigator over the opinion of a witness brought in by one party? If so, why did we spend nearly $5000 for the GAL? We could have saved a lot of money by bringing in our own witness.

3. The court allowed the mother sole authorship of the new visitation schedule, which cut in half the amount of time the child is allowed to spend with her father.

The amount of visitation was reduced from 38% to 18%. The GAL recommended that the non-custodial parent should have summer plus at least three visits during the school year, including a majority of the winter break. A fair visitation schedule would have allowed at least 26% of time with the father despite the increased travel distance resulting from the father’s relocation. Unfortunately, the mother dictated that the child only be allowed to visit her father twice during the school year, one of those visits being only a few days of winter break with the majority of winter break with the mother. Allowing one parent to dictate the schedule obviously does not seem fair or legal.

This case makes a mockery of fairness, justice, and the “best interests of the child.” The actions and decisions of both courts undermine faith in the legal system. If the above actions are legal by the court, then the laws need to change so that children are truly protected and served by the courts and not subject to the whims of selfish, vindictive parents whose desire to hurt an ex-partner is stronger than their desire to do right by their child. I thought the very purpose of the GAL was to serve the needs of the child and ensure that the court makes a decision that is truly in their “best interest.”




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Posted by: Anonymous on 11-01-2012

Courthouse located in Hillsborough, NC.

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Posted by: Anonymous on 12-29-2012

When the justice system fails to provide justice then none are secure in their person or possessions - including judges.

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Posted by: iDrafted on 08-21-2015

N.C. District 15B - Judge Joseph M. Buckner:

Remains Chief District Court Judge for the 15B Judicial District.

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