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Governor appoints Adam Phillips to District Court judge seat


An assistant public defender has been appointed District Court judge in Judicial District 12 serving Cumberland County.

Adam Phillips was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge April Smith, Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday. Smith retired at the beginning of the month to focus on her health. Her term ends this year.

"It's the honor of my legal career, so far," Phillips said Friday. "I'm humbled. I'm overwhelmed, and I certainly appreciate the trust in me and the opportunity. Being born and raised here in Fayetteville, it's going to be an honor to serve home and country."

Phillips, 35, has been with the Cumberland County Public Defender's Office for eight years. He also is a District Court supervisor for the office.

He previously served as an information and communication specialist for the N.C. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Protection Division.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in 2009 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before earning his Juris Doctor in 2012, also from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Phillips was one of two judicial appointments announced by Cooper on Friday.

Lee Gavins was appointed to serve as a Superior Court judge in Judicial District 19B, serving Randolph County, Cooper said in a release. Gavin was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Vance B. Long.

"These appointees have served their communities well over the years," Cooper said in the release. "I am confident in their leadership and grateful for their willingness to serve."

Even before the appointment, Phillips had been seeking a seat on the District Court bench. He filed to run for Smith’s seat in this year’s election.

"I'm looking forward to getting in there and getting work done as soon as possible," Phillips said.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Cumberland County, District Court judge, 12th Judicial District, Adam Phillips