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Gay man appointed superior court judge
Charlotte attorney John Arrowood appointed by N.C. Gov. Mike Easley

by Donald Miller

John Arrowood will be sworn in as a superior court judge April 23.

CHARLOTTE — John Arrowood has been an attorney with the Charlotte law firm of James, McElroy and Deal since 1989. Prior to that he worked as a staff attorney for the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and as an assistant to Judge S. Gerald Arnold.

In addition to a stint as attorney for the firm of Palmer and Cannon in Wilson, Arrowood has continued to be extremely active throughout the Carolinas in the Democratic Party, as well as maintaining multiple posts in religious and civic organizations.

Born in Burnsville, N.C., Arrowood today calls the Eastover neighborhood of Charlotte home. He says his appointment to Superior Court is exciting, but it wasn’t an overwhelming surprise. He had made Gov. Mike Easley aware of his interest to serve in the position.

“I’ve known the governor since he ran for the Senate,” says Arrowood. “I’ve had a fairly active involvement with him since that time and I expressed an interest in serving.” Arrowood says that most people know he’s gay and he assumes that Gov. Easley does, too, although they’ve never spoken about it. In fact, Arrowood was unclear as to where Easley stands on LGBT issues in general.

“I don’t know,” says Arrowood. “We’ve never had a conversation about it.”

Arrowood has been appointed as a Special Superior Court Judge. He’ll be officially sworn in April 23.

So just what is a “special” superior court judge?

“In North Carolina, there are two types of judges,” Arrowood explains. “There’s the resident superior court judge that must live in the district — they’re elected and they serve terms. Then there are the 14 special judges that are appointed by the governor and they generally serve for five years.”

Unlike resident superior court judges, special judges are called to work throughout the state.
“Wherever they decide they have a need,” says Arrowood. “I will be traveling a lot more as a judge than I do currently at James, McElroy and Deal.”

Although Arrowood is pleased as punch to accept the appointment, he admits there’s an edge of melancholy about departing James, McElroy and Deal. “I’ve spent a lot of years here,” he says. “I’ve been cleaning out 18 years of it.”

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