1st black female NC superior court judge Shirley Fulton dies

Shirley Fulton, a trailblazing judge in Charlotte and across North Carolina, has died.

Shirley Fulton, a trailblazing judge in Charlotte and across North Carolina, has died.

Staff Photographer

Longtime Mecklenburg County Judge Shirley Fulton, the first Black woman to win a Superior Court seat in North Carolina, died Wednesday morning.

The cause of death: complications from gall bladder cancer.

Fulton, whose influence stretched from the courthouse to a decades-long list of significant community endeavors, was 71.

At different points during her legal career, the Kingstree, S.C., native worked as an assistant Mecklenburg County district attorney, a District Court judge, a Superior Court judge and a law professor.

For 14 years she served as Senior Resident Superior Court judge, the most powerful judicial seat in the Mecklenburg courthouse. Once again Fulton made history by being the first Black woman in North Carolina to hold the job.

Shirley Fulton.jpg
Michael Shane Neal’s 2004 portrait of former Judge Shirley Fulton hangs in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Fulton, the first Black woman in North Carolina ever elected to a Superior Court seat, has died. She was 71. Michael Shane Neal

After leaving the bench in 2002, Fulton went into private practice. But she continued to throw herself into highly public community initiatives — from reforms in the courts to public housing and local schools.

She served as president of Queen City Congress, a coalition of inner city neighborhoods, and was former board chair of the Charlotte Housing Authority.

In 2015, she re-donned her judicial robes to preside over a mock grand jury hearing in Raleigh to consider “indicting” Republican legislators who had voted to block the expansion of Medicaid, the major form of federal health assistance for low-income families.

“She was an absolute gem for this community and this court system,” said Carla Archie, the county’s current senior resident judge, and the first Black woman

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Want to learn how to file a claim in Cobb Small Claims Court? Or how to respond if you’re sued there? The Cobb Law Library is hosting a workshop

The Cobb Law Library distributed the following press release about an upcoming workshop in how to use Small Claims Court. Whether you’re the person filing a claim, or the person being sued, this workshop will get you started:

Cobb Magistrate’s Small Claims Court handles money claims up to $15,000, and any person may file a claim there without an attorney. Come learn how to file a case; how to respond if you’re the one being sued – and the danger of not responding; what evidence is acceptable; what happens after the judge rules, and more at a public program.

“How to Proceed in Small-Claims Court,” is set for Tuesday, July 26, 2022, at 10 am, in the Law Library. Registration is required for the free event, which will be given by attorney Derek Rouse, Founding Partner in The Rouse Firm LLC.

Seating is limited. To register, call the Law Library at 770-528-1884. Presentations are for general legal information only and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established at this program.

library“About the Cobb County Law Library

The Cobb County Law Library is on the Fourth Floor of Cobb County Superior Court, 70 Haynes St., Marietta. It is open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

When the Cobb Law Library was first founded, it was primarily for the use of court officers, as described below, but that mission has expanded over time to include use by the public.

The Cobb County Law Library website gives the following description of the library’s history and its mission:

The Cobb County Law Library was established in 1967. The Law Library is a division of Superior Court Administration.

Pursuant to state legislation, a Board of Trustees is responsible for making all rules and regulations governing the Law Library.

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