Simeon challenges Walker for Durham judge seat

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 08:06 PM

Durham traffic defense attorney Mark Simeon filed Friday for District Court judge, hoping to unseat incumbent Doretta Walker.

Simeon, 57, who specializes in defending clients with suspended drivers’ licenses, said he’s helped an underserved population for the 25 years he’s practiced in Durham.

“License restoration work requires more in-depth knowledge and a different kind of skill set to help people recover their driver’s license,” he said. “I’m not talking about DWI suspensions, but about people who are not dangerous, and their licenses are a mess because of the kind of cascading effect of problems that pile up on people very quickly. I’ve gotten really good at helping to undo those.”

Simeon said he’d bring a different perspective to the bench.

“The kinds of things that need to be done to help people regain their licenses are often harder to get done in Durham than many surrounding counties,” he said.

That’s because most Durham judges have little experience in license restoration “and are hesitant to approve remedies that will help people,” he said. “Most of the judges are former prosecutors here, and there’s been a resistance that I think it’s time to cure.”

Simeon grew up in Chicago and San Francisco, and moved to Durham in 1989. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta and his law degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

“Durham is a historically vibrant, dynamic community, increasingly inhabited by people from all over the country, and all over the world, who move here to live, love and work,” he said on his website. “It’s time that the local judiciary reflects that diversity.”