The bar vote is in, the appointment is nigh

The legal community in the seven western counties has thrown its support behind Attorney Tessa Sellers, from Murphy, to fill a district court judge vacancy.


The final decision rests with the governor, but members of the N.C. Bar Association from the western counties get to weigh in by voting on their top picks and forwarding them to the governor to chose from.

“It is a bifurcated process,” said Sellers, 36, who has an all-around solo practice in Murphy.

Sellers had a wide margin over the other five attorneys vying for the open judge seat in the bar vote last week. The runner-up was Hunter Murphy from Waynesville, who made a respectable showing and had a wide margin of his own separating him from the attorneys who came in third, fourth and fifth.

Sellers, who is married and has two young children, has been an assistant prosecutor and done a wide variety of civil and criminal litigation.

There are six district court judges for the seven western counties, but five of those six were from Haywood. Attorneys practicing in the more western counties saw the vacancy as a chance to correct the geographic imbalance and made a strong showing at the bar vote last week.

“My opinion of that is the bar felt this is an important decision that affects their practice and their clients,” Sellers said.

Murphy said he is pleased with the support he got as well and believes he is still in the running for the governor’s appointment.

“I believe my support, inside and outside of the bar, will demonstrate that I am the best candidate to be our next district court judge,” said Murphy, 33, who also has two young children and owns a solo practice in Waynesville.

The final appointment will be made within 60 days, but could come much sooner.

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