Durham County

Who is Amanda Maris? A look at Gov. Cooper’s pick to replace Marcia Morey on district court bench

Amanda Maris
Amanda Maris Submitted

Public defender Amanda Maris has been chosen to fill the rest of the judicial term vacated by Marcia Morey, who was appointed this spring to a seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.

Maris announced her appointment by Gov. Roy Cooper in a Facebook post Friday evening.

“I am truly honored and grateful to have this opportunity to serve such a diverse and amazing city full of people and communities I love,” the 38-year-old Maris wrote in the post. “This judicial appointment is a valuable gift and responsibility, a responsibility to contribute to the fair and impartial administration of justice and to do my part to see that the arc of the moral universe does indeed bend towards justice.”

Maris, who received her law degree from N.C. Central University in 2006, has served as an assistant public defender since 2007, according to her LinkedIn profile.

She practices law in criminal, domestic violence and traffic court and juvenile delinquency court. She is also serves as the assistant public defender in the Misdemeanor Diversion Program for youth ages 16-21, which was founded by Morey.

Morey, who was re-elected as district judge in 2014, was appointed to the House District 30 seat as a permanent replacement for a vacancy created by the October death of Paul Luebke, 70, a Democrat who represented Durham for 25 years in the state House.

In 2009, Maris co-founded a public expunction clinic in a partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina and was a nominee for the North Carolina Bar Association Chief Justice Award in 2015 for this work.

Nine people sought the judicial appointment.

Members of the Fourteenth Judicial District completed online voting for those individuals to be among five candidates recommended for consideration by Cooper.

Maris received 49 percent of the votes for the judicial seat. The second highest vote-getter was N.C. Sen. Floyd B. McKissick Jr., D-Durham, who dropped out of the judicial race about a month ago due to concerns about a GOP push to draw new districts for judges.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges