JONATHAN PERRY FOR
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
Meet Jonathan Perry
Experience Matters in the Courtroom
- Undergraduate degree UNCC
- Law School and Masters Degree in Economics UNC Chapel Hill
- Assistant Union County District Attorney for 14+ years
I have worked in the Union County District Attorney’s Office for almost fourteen years; I have taught at several institutions at the college and professional level; and I served in the Special Litigation Section of the Department of Justice while I was in graduate school. I have made a career out of service to the State of North Carolina in many capacities, and I would like to continue this service as a Superior Court Judge.
I am originally from Stanly County. After high school I left Albemarle and subsequently graduated from UNC Charlotte in 1998 with a degree in Economics, English, and Political Science. My undergraduate senior thesis was a proposal and outline for a course taught by Economics Professor Dr. Ted Amato and Political Science Professor Dr. Dennis Dorin. This combination of perspectives provided me with the plan for my future career. I attended UNC Chapel Hill in 1998 and met other faculty members at the law school who were equally as supportive and encouraging in pursuing this combination of law and public policy studies. My professor in civil law, Ken Broun, listened to me as I floated the idea of applying for the Carolina Ph.D. Program in Economics. He thought it would be a great idea, and so with his encouragement I enrolled in the fall simultaneously in both law school and graduate school in economics. Surviving both was one of the toughest academic challenges I have ever faced (while at the same time dealing with the diagnosis and soon to be followed death of my father from cancer). I continued to make connections on Carolina’s campus, meeting Dr. Mike Luger of the Public Policy Ph.D. program, to which I subsequently applied and was accepted.
I also extended my connections off campus, meeting and subsequently being employed by Dr. Blake Brown (of NCSU’s Agricultural Economics Department) and the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office (in the Special Litigation Section under then Division Chief Grayson Kelley). At the Department of Justice, I worked on Master Settlement Agreement implementation issues with Dan McLawhorn initially and the other attorneys and support staff in Special Litigation. I worked for these advisers and organizations, all while maintaining joint enrollment in both law school and graduate school, receiving both my J.D. and M.S. and continuing through the Economics and Public Policy Ph.D. programs. In 2003, while still in graduate school, I began teaching for the University Honors Program (UHP) at UNC Charlotte. Every Friday afternoon, I left Chapel Hill when my own morning class ended and started teaching at UNC Charlotte at 3:00 in the afternoon for the next two and a half hours.
Public service is something I believe in, and one important experience in law school gave me a direction in which to go. I enrolled in an Externship class and was placed at the District Attorney’s Office in Orange County, working for then District Attorney Carl Fox. I completed my externship in the Fall of 2001, but continued to volunteer in the office on Tuesdays when District Court was held on Franklin Street at the old Post Office. I went to court and then went back across the street to class for several years and continued to do so when Jim Woodall became the Orange/Chatham County District Attorney. I made a difference in the workload of the Assistant District Attorneys there, who were already overworked, because I could come in and move cases just as easily and professionally as they did after having earned their trust. I also began to see where a true challenge for me might be and a place to make a difference — in the intersections of law and economics. This was especially true through work in economic development and economic impact research that I conducted through the Kenan Institute in Chapel Hill, where I worked for Professor Luger in the Office of Economic Development on major projects. At the Attorney General’s Office and NCSU I specifically focused on understanding the economic and legal impacts of the Master Settlement Agreement, which combined both legal and economic analysis. I believe this combination of studies makes me a broadly-minded person with more than just a typical legal education.
There are not many Ph.D. graduates from Carolina in District Attorney offices, so it was a little difficult to navigate where to go next. I left Chapel Hill in 2005 after seven years, two degrees, and many good experiences, because I saw where I could continue to use my skills and drive to make a positive difference. I heard of a job opening in Monroe in the District Attorney’s Office through a law school classmate of mine. When the semester ended, I left Chapel Hill for Monroe. I was still teaching at UNC Charlotte, so this seemed like a perfect fit — close to my remaining family, close to UNC Charlotte, and in an office to which I could contribute. My experiences with my placements in Chapel Hill and Raleigh taught me there was a need for people with an economics and public policy background in District Attorney’s offices as well as in state government in general. I was determined to bring economics to the law and the law to economics through my (then) two employers.
Nearly fourteen years later, I can say with pride that I have established strong connections between the UNC Charlotte campus and our District Attorney’s Office, through the creation of an internship program specifically for college students. I began with one student and now have students every semester engaged in research projects and volunteer opportunities, including several UNC Charlotte University Honors Program and Business Honors students senior research thesis papers. These projects have generated data sets and actionable policy insights for us to use in our office. I have also made connections beyond UNC Charlotte. As our Internship Coordinator, I interview students from across the country in undergraduate, professional, and graduate programs to place in our office every semester and summer. I have added rigor and empiricism to our office internally with the creation and maintenance of data usable to guide our continued logistical and organizational challenges. I have also been responsible for budget issues and purchasing as well as helping defend our need for resources before both the State and the County Commissioners.
I believe my skills and experience make a positive difference every day to our victims, law enforcement partners, and court system officials through our vigorous prosecution of complicated financial crime and other complex criminal activities. I continue to make broader and deeper connections throughout the local and statewide community through my activities as well as that of my students and their work. For two years I helped to represent prosecutors across the State in the litigation related to capital punishment, including in the courtroom where I was responsible for both cross-examination and direct examination of national experts on discrimination modeling and regression analysis. This litigation involved complex Motion for Appropriate Relief Hearings in several different counties, in front of several different judges and against some of the best defense and appellate attorneys in the State. I also taught several CLE courses on regression analysis and statistical modeling methods across the State as part of the Conference of District Attorneys work in training prosecutors.
On the teaching side of my public service career, I have created and taught new courses not offered before at UNC Charlotte, including the course that I visualized as an undergraduate senior, Federalism and Free Markets. I have also created courses entitled Game Theory & Strategic Behavior, Antitrust and Trade Regulation, Politics and Elections, and a class on Understanding the Financial Crisis. I have taught courses in the Economics Department as well, including Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Law & Economics, and Economics for Non-Majors. In the Political Science Department I have taught courses on Constitutional Law, the Philosophy of Law, and Judicial Process. At South Piedmont Community College I have taught Principles of Macroeconomics, Principles of Microeconomics, and Business Law, as well as Corporate Law, Commercial Law, and Wills Trusts & Estates for the Paralegal Program there. At the Charlotte School of Law I taught both Law & Economics and Antitrust Law & Trade Regulation. All these courses and diversity of subject matter have prepared me for the many areas of the law of which a Superior Court Judge must be familiar.
In addition to my teaching career I have worked for many years with prosecutors across North Carolina. From Orange County and Wake County during school, to the old former 20th District Counties (Anson, Richmond, Stanly, and Union), and beyond to other counties across the State I have worked with and learned from many admirable attorneys and judges. I have worked with the Attorney General’s Office over the years through the appellate process as well as many administrative and regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Insurance, the State Board of Elections, and the Secretary of State Office. I am proud to say that many investigators from these State agencies specifically try to bring their cases to court in Union County, because they know that our office will pursue cases vigorously and professionally.
Jonathan believes in the
Rule of Law
I have tried numerous jury trials and obtained many convictions, helping victims in many diverse circumstances achieve some measure of justice through the court system. I have also dismissed many cases where evidence was insufficient, and had tough conversations with victims and law enforcement officers about why that had to occur. I am in Superior Court sometimes three weeks a month, day in and day out, working cases through the system. Almost eighty percent of the Superior Court time in the County is dedicated to criminal cases — which I think makes me an ideal candidate for the Superior Court Judgeship — I know how Superior Court operates because I have run Superior Court sessions as a prosecutor for years. I have specialized particularly in prosecution of fraud and financial crimes, trying cases in front of judges and juries at all levels of the system. My financial crimes prosecution record includes numerous probable cause hearings in District Court and many jury trials in Superior Court. Several of these cases provided the material for case law issued from both the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court. This is a reflection of the fact that I am a Superior Court attorney, making my living as a courtroom lawyer day in and day out.
Proud to have the endorsements of
Sheriff Eddie Cathey and many others
Today I am honored by the support and endorsements in seeking this nomination for Superior Court from all the law enforcement agency chiefs in the County: Sheriff Eddie Cathey, Monroe Police Chief Brian Gilliard, Waxhaw Police Chief Mike Eiss, Marshville Police Chief Matt Tarlton, Wingate Police Chief Donnie Gay, and (now retired) Stallings Police Chief Minor Plyler. Over fifty members of the Union County Bar (both civil and criminal practitioners), and many attorneys outside of Union County; as well as numerous citizens, police officers, deputies, teachers, parents, and students have all reached out to let me know I have their respect and support. I mention this only to emphasize that my focus in state government as a teacher and prosecutor has been on making a positive impact on the community, and I intend to continue this focus as a Superior Court Judge.
- Married to wife Shannon for 10 years
- Unionville resident
- Attends Hopewell Baptist Church
- Part time professor at Wingate, SPCC and UNC Charlotte