Sease wants to provide ‘fresh perspective’ in run for District Court judge

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, May 3, 2022

SALISBURY — Running for Rowan County District Court judge has been on Chris Sease’s radar for years.

The evidence is on the website for his legal practice. The last sentence on his “about” page reads: “Chris loves being an attorney; however, his goal is to one day run for District Court judge in Rowan County.”

“And that’s seven years old,” Sease said. “It’s something that’s always appealed to me.”

Sease is currently pursuing that long-held goal. He’s running in the Republican primary against incumbent Kevin Eddinger for seat No. 1. Early voting is underway and the primary is May 17.

In his bid for his dream position, Sease is hoping to bring a unique viewpoint to the bench.

“We’re a little complacent at the moment and that’s OK, there’s nothing wrong with that but we really could use some fresh perspective,” Sease said. “Honestly, from representing people everyday and hearing their stories and seeing the heartaches they have to go through, I really feel for that. As a judge, you have to have empathy, you have to have mercy, you’ve got to have understanding. But you also have to make decisions.”

A Rowan County native, Sease graduated from East Rowan and spent a year at North Carolina State University. When he left for Raleigh, he was considering studying forensics with the goal of working in law enforcement. When he transferred to Pfeiffer — where he played on a men’s tennis scholarship — he decided to enter the pre-law track. His decision was at least partly inspired by fond memories of days on the mock trial team in high school.

“I tried a case and had a lot of fun with that,” Sease said. “It was the most fun I remember having in high school.”

Sease attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and interned during his first two summers at a law office in Salisbury. That’s when he decided he wanted to return to Salisbury to practice law after graduation.

“Our Bar is kind of unique,” Sease said. “We’re very collegial, very professional, but very friendly and are able to help others. After seeing some of the other environments at clinics and work elsewhere, there was no one else I’d rather be.”

He started off at Sherrill and Cameron law firm and signed up to be a court-appointed attorney. Those are private lawyers appointed by a judge to represent a defendant who can not afford to represent themselves.

“You’re catching people a lot of times during some of the most chaotic and extraordinary times of their lives,” Sease said. “A lot of times they expect you to be a miracle worker or a magician and you’re neither one of them. You’re just trying to advise them. You really have to have the right mindset, which is that these folks need someone to fight for them, stand up for them and advocate for them.”

Sease’s courtroom experience falls mostly in the criminal realm. For multiple law firms, including his own since 2015, Sease has tried 20 jury trials.

Sease said he’s always been interested in being a judge because it is a chance to be a “force for good.” If elected, Sease said he’d explore efforts to bring a drug treatment court jurisdiction to Rowan County.

“They have drug treatment courts elsewhere and it’d be nice to explore: is that something possible? Does it work? If we help address issues early on can it combat folks from reoffending? For a lot of people, substance abuse is a hard creature to break,” Sease said.

Additionally, Sease said he’d support the idea of the courthouse becoming a family court jurisdiction where there would be more available court sessions for the disposition and resolution of custody, child court, alimony, equitable distribution cases.

Along with supporting those efforts, Sease said he’d like to bring more mental health resources to the courthouse to support defendants.

Outside of the courthouse, Sease is involved at Christiana Lutheran Church. He’s president of the board of managers for Saleeby-Fisher YMCA and is on the Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA board. He’s also on the board of directors at Faith Academy Charter School. Sease is married and has three children. He’s currently coaching both youth baseball and soccer.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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