A man who has presided over courtrooms in Surry and Stokes counties for nearly a decade has been named chief District Court judge for those jurisdictions.
The appointment of Judge Bill Southern to that position for Judicial District 17-B was approved by North Carolina Chief Justice Mark Martin.
Southern’s appointment will be effective on May 1 with the retirement of Chief Judge Charles Neaves Jr.
His new role will include overseeing District Court operations in Surry and Stokes, a position to which Martin believes Southern to be well suited.
“After speaking with courthouse staff and members of the legal community, I am confident that Judge Southern’s responsive leadership will serve the district courts well,” the chief justice said in a statement.
“His demonstrated commitment to public service will enable the district to continue to operate fair and efficient courts that serve the needs of their communities, and that provide timely justice to all,” Martin added.
Southern is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and the Texas Southern University School of Law.
He has served as a District Court judge in Judicial District 17-B since 2008, and before that was an assistant district attorney.
In 2015, Southern was named to the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission by then-Gov. Pat McCrory. The commission serves as the chief advisory body to the governor and the secretary of the Department of Public Safety on crime and justice issues.
Southern’s appointment as chief District Court judge is not the only development recently on the Surry County judicial scene.
Earlier this year, Dobson attorney Marion Boone was picked for a vacant District Court judgeship created with Judge Angela Puckett’s election as a Superior Court judge in November to replace the retiring Moses Massey.
Boone had been nominated for that vacancy from a pool of five attorneys in Surry and Stokes counties.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.