Durham magistrate files for Judge Gordon’s seat

Feb. 27, 2014 @ 05:18 PM

A Durham County magistrate Thursday entered the race for a District Court judgeship held by Nancy Gordon, making it two challengers for Gordon’s seat.

Aminah Thompson, who hears cases in Durham County Civil Court, filed paperwork at the N.C. Board of Elections in Raleigh.

In an interview this week, Thompson, 32, said she wants to bring a different viewpoint to the bench.

“I feel the bench could use a fresh, young perspective, and someone who is fair and impartial,” she said.

Thompson has been a Durham County magistrate since 2009, hearing criminal and civil cases.

“The main thing I’m concerned about is fairness in the judiciary,” she said. “That’s really what I want to promote.”

Thompson lived in Amherst, Mass., and Lawrence, Kan., before coming to Duke University as a student in 1999. She graduated from Duke in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and received her law degree in 2007 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The other contender for the seat is Durham attorney Fred Battaglia Jr.

Battaglia, 57, cited Gordon’s low rating in a recent survey by the N.C. Bar Association that evaluated judges.

“We need to raise the bar on professionalism and integrity on the bench,” Battaglia said after filing.

A Buxton native, Battaglia has lived in Durham since 1981 and has practiced law here for 28 years.

He graduated from East Carolina University and earned his law degree from N.C. Central University.

Gordon, 59, would be serving her third term if re-elected.

She moved to Durham after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1976 and Case Western University School of Law in 1979.

Gordon is board-certified by the N.C. State Bar as a family law specialist. She was in the private practice of law for 26 years before being elected to the bench in 2006.

The filing deadline for candidates is noon today.