By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
ATLANTIC BEACH — N.C. Court of Appeals veteran and Seat 5 candidate Douglas McCullough hopes voters will take a look at his extensive experience before casting their ballot.
“I am the only candidate who has actually served a complete term (8 years) as an appellate court judge,” said McCullough, who was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2000. “The others may say, ‘gee, that is a nice job, I think I can do it,’ but with me it is a matter of record that I can and have done the job as I am the author of over 800 appellate opinions and joined in several thousand more.”
A Marine Corps veteran, McCullough attended Swansboro High School, the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina Law School. In addition to his work as a Judge Advocate in the Marines, he has been a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia, counsel to the U.S. Senate Ethics Subcommittee and an assistant U.S. Attorney in North Carolina’s Eastern District. His private practice experience has been with Stubbs & Perdue in New Bern.
McCullough said the most difficult part of being a Court of Appeals judge is keeping up with the workload.
“A judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals will author over 100, and in some cases more than 150, opinions per year plus join in some 300 more case opinions,” he explained. “That pace comes to about two opinions per week, each week of the year including holidays. To make the right decision requires a good deal of time to read and understand the briefs and the law cited therein.”
He said a weeklong course at New York University that was tailored for new appellate judges helped him to craft clear opinions written in a way that laymen could understand. By the end of his term on the court, he said his decision making process was smoother and he was cutting down on the time that it took him to get out opinions in “a smooth, edited fashion.”
In addition to his experience and training, McCullough said his faith also affects his work.
“I would like to think that my faith has made me the type of lawyer that you might consider ‘old-fashioned’ today in that I am truthful, even when it might hurt a case; I don’t ‘cut corners’ and will not attack an opponent or witness merely because the attack would make a client happy,” he said. “Your faith builds your character and that is with you daily in whatever occupation you pursue, not just law.”
McCullough lost his bid for re-election to the Court of Appeals in 2008 following a 2006 driving while impaired charge to which he pleaded guilty.
“Most people who know me recognize my years of service, that this was an aberration, that I handled it honorably and that it has been more than four years since that incident took place,” McCullough said, adding that it has no bearing on his fitness to serve as a judge.
Husband of Lucci McCullough and father of two grown daughters, McCullough enjoys jogging, sailing and other outdoor sports. He is the author of “Sea of Greed,” the true story of America’s biggest drug raid, in which he reveals facts of the case that led to the U.S. invasion of Panama and the overthrow of dictator Manuel Noriega. The book details his role in unraveling the Cayman Island cartel beginning during his years with the U.S. Attorney’s office. His early investigations in North Carolina, following a routine check of a shrimp boat that uncovered 29,000 pounds of marijuana, set off the chain of indictments eventually leading to Noriega’s arrest.
To find out more about Doug McCullough, log on to www.citizensforjudgemccullough.com.