Local News

Longtime Wake County Superior Court judge announces retirement

Posted September 12
Updated September 13

Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens speaks to the prosecution during Jason Young's retrial on Feb. 6, 2012. (Photo by Shawn Rocco, The News & Observer, Pool)

— A longtime Wake County Superior Court judge on Tuesday announced his retirement from the bench.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens will retire from the bench on Nov. 1, according to a news release. He has served as the senior resident judge since 2001.

"Judge Stephens has served with integrity, with excellence, and with an unwavering commitment to the rule of law and justice," North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin said in a statement.

Stephens was appointed to the Superior Court in 1984, was elected as a resident judge in 1986 and will retire as the longest-serving senior resident judge in Wake County.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin designated Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway to succeed Stephens as senior resident judge.


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  • Nancy Deas Sep 13, 8:50 a.m.
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    David Kirkman - excellent analysis.

  • David Kirkman Sep 13, 7:38 a.m.
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    Judge Stephens has been an excellent judge. JHis sharp mind, stable temperament, experience on the bench, wry sense of humor, courtesy towards those in his courtroom, encyclopedic knowledge of the law and instinctive sense of fairness made him so. Cases where an appellate court faulted one of his rulings or jury instructions were quite rare.

  • Jackson Smith Sep 12, 7:46 p.m.
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    Judge Stephens had been a great judge and has honored wake county in so many ways!

  • Deborrah Newton Sep 12, 7:07 p.m.
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    Thank you for your fine service, Your Honor. It has been a pleasure. Enjoy a well earned next act! Best, deb