I’ve put together from various sources some biographical information concerning former North Carolina Supreme Court Willis Whichard who chairs the committee charged by the Durham City Council with: 1) determining how that city’s police department was able to arrest and help indict three men for multiple crimes for which the NC Attorney General said there never was any credible evidence; and 2) recommending actions the city can take to prevent such a travesty in the future.
From Answers.com :
Willis P. Whichard is an American lawyer and a prominent figure in North Carolina politics and education. Born in Durham, North Carolina in 1940, he began his legal career as a clerk to NC Supreme Court Justice (later Chief Justice) William H. Bobbitt.Whichard is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his law degree at UNC’s School of Law where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the North Carolina Law Review and inducted into the Order of the Coif. Whichard also holds a Master of Laws (LL.M) and a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) from the University of Virginia.
From 1966 to 1980, Whichard practiced law in Durham and entered politics, being elected first to the North Carolina House of Representatives and then to the North Carolina Senate. In 1980, he was appointed by Governor Jim Hunt to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, where he served until he became a justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1986.
Whichard retired from the Court in 1998 and served as Dean of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University from 1999 until his retirement in 2006.
Whichard is the only person in the history of North Carolina who has served in both houses of the state legislature and on both of the state's appellate courts.
A student of North Carolina judicial history, Whichard has written a biography of James Iredell, a North Carolinian who led the state’s Federalists in supporting ratification of the Constitution and was later appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President George Washington.
This past February Whichard joined one of North Carolina’s largest and most respected law firms, Moore & Van Allen.
At the firm’s website we learn Whichard’s received a number of prestigious recognitions including the Christopher Crittenden Award, North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; Distinguished Service Medal, University of North Carolina General Alumni Association; and Outstanding Appellate Judge Award, NC Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Whichard is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation:
an honorary organization of attorneys, judges, and law professors whose professional, public, and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession. . . .At the Amazon.com page for Whichard’s biography of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Iredell there are a book description and review excerpts:
The Fellows are limited to one-third of one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. Members are nominated by Fellows in their jurisdiction and elected by the Board of the American Bar Foundation. . . .
Fellows must have demonstrated their dedication to the objectives of the American Bar Association-upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States; maintaining the ideals of representative government and the rule of law; advancing the science of jurisprudence; and promoting the administration of justice and uniformity of legislation and judicial decisions throughout the United States, among others.
Book DescriptionWell folks, what do you think? Do any of you know Justice Whichard? Do you know people who do? If yes, what do they say?
A CHOICE Magazine Outstanding Academic Title for 2001. James Iredell sailed from England to the English colony of North Carolina in 1768 to be a customs officer at the port of Edenton. While serving King George III at the port of Edenton, Iredell studied law under Samuel Johnston, who would become his brother-in-law, mentor, and friend.
Iredell became a superior lawyer and the leading essayist in his region in support of American independence. Following the American Revolution, he was the foremost advocate in North Carolina for adoption of the proposed federal Constitution and later served on the Supreme Court after ratification.
The North Carolina Historical Review, July 2001
"Whichard brings to life this important figure of the Federal period...a marvelous job of representing Iredell's human side."
Journal of Supreme Court History, 2002, Vol. 27, No. 2
"Carefully documented and entertaining to read, this modern biography...is a notable addition to the bibliography of the early court."
Books-on-Law Book Reviews, July 2001
"Whichard offers insightful treatment of what it was like to be a Supreme Court Justice in the late 18th century."