Perdue appoints Wayland Sermons to judgeship|Washington attorney selected by governor for Superior Court seat

Published 11:56 am Thursday, August 13, 2009

Contributing Editor

Washington attorney Wayland J. Sermons Jr. has been appointed as a resident Superior Court judge by Gov. Beverly Perdue.
Sermons said he received a telephone call from Eddie Speas, general counsel to the governor’s office, about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, asking him if he would accept an appointment to serve out Superior Court Judge William C. Griffin Jr.’s unexpired term.
“I replied, ‘I certainly will,’” Sermons said.
“I am hoping to be sworn in just before or after Labor Day,” said Sermons, who took his oath as an attorney in August 1980.
“Wayland Sermons’ broad career experience in law and his commitment to his community have prepared him well for this position,” Perdue said in press release. “I am confident he will serve the people of the 2nd Judicial District with distinction.”
On a professional basis, Sermons said, his appointment shows that “I have the confidence of the local bar and the confidence of the governor.”
“I look forward to doing a different job,” Sermons said about his upcoming new role in the judicial system.
Sermons said he will run his court with respect and civility, which he said he will require of anyone in his court.
“I also want to be fair to everyone,” he said.
On a personal basis, Sermons noted, becoming a judge means he won’t “have to open 300 files a year.”
“I look forward to holding civil court,” Sermons said. “Civil court was something I did during my practice. I think I did it effectively during my practice.”
“This is a personal accomplishment I really did not know I wanted until several years ago,” he said.
As reported by the Washington Daily News last month, Sermons and Seth Edwards, district attorney for the 2nd Prosecutorial District and a Beaufort County resident, were in the running to be appointed to serve out Griffin’s term. Griffin retired earlier this year as resident Superior Court judge in the 2nd Judicial District. In interviews last month, Sermons and Edwards each said they planned to seek Griffin’s seat if he retired by the next election. The seat is up for election in 2010.
If three or more candidates file to run for that seat next year, a primary will be held next May, with the top two vote-getters moving to the general election in November. If there are two or just one candidate, no primary will be held. Superior Court judges serve eight-year terms.
Sermons said Edwards called him to congratulate him on the appointment.
“I look forward to working with him as the district attorney for a long time,” Sermons said.
Sermons said taking Griffin’s seat will be a challenging experience, recalling that Griffin was the district attorney when he began practicing law in 1980.
“I learned a lot from him as a prosecutor, and I learned a lot from him as a judge,” Sermons said.
Sermons plans to keep the office of the resident Superior Court judge for the 2nd Judicial District, which includes Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Washington and Tyrrell counties, at its current location in Williamston.
His appointment means Sermons will have to resign from the Coastal Resources Commission, the Legislative Offshore Energy Exploration Study Committee and as the attorney for the towns of Bath and Chocowinity.