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Cooper appoints Perez to district court seat


Mario Perez


The Daily Reflector

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Long-time Greenville attorney Mario Perez is filling the seat of recently retired District Court Judge P. Gwynett Hilburn.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Perez’s appointment on Thursday. Perez will fill the remainder of Hilburn’s term, which ends in December.

He also plans to run for the seat in November.

“The reason I wanted to be a lawyer is to serve and to be of service,” Perez said. “This is a good transition for me to continue my service, this time as a public servant.”

Perez holds degrees from St. Mary’s University and Georgetown University School of Law. He worked as a congressional aide and in private practice before joining the U.S. Department of Justice in 1987. A year later he moved to Greenville and worked with Ward and Smith, Taft, Taft & Hailger law firms before opening a practice with Curtis Coleman in 1994.

He has been in solo practice since 1999, handling both criminal and civil matters.

A swearing-in ceremony for Perez will be held in May.

“I’ve got to wind down my practice. I have to resolve my cases and transition cases to other attorneys,” he said.

Cooper announced Perez’s appointment on Thursday. He also appointed Lamont Wiggins as a Superior Court Judge in District 7B, serving Edgecombe and Wilson counties.

Wiggins previously served on the Rocky Mount City Council and has also served on the Nash/Edgecombe Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. He holds degrees from North Carolina State University and North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Earlier this month North Carolina Chief Justice Mark Martin appointed Judge R. Les Turner as chief district court judge for Judicial District 8, serving Greene, Lenoir and Wayne counties, effective April 1. Turner succeeds David Brantley, who has retired.

Turner has served as a district court judge in Judicial District 8 since 2000. He previously worked as an assistant district attorney.

Turn is a graduate of East Carolina University and earned law degree from Campbell School of Law.