@OswaldForJudge


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Orange High School - Class of 2003

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As a native of Hillsborough, Noah is a product of our local public schools.  He has shown his commitment to give back to our community as an athletic coach, PTA member and volunteer

NCCU Law - Class of 2012

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Noah is proud to be a Legal Eagle.  NCCU has been recognized for providing a diverse, practical legal education that prepares students for service in their communities.  As part of the Veteran's Law Clinic, Noah worked to secure benefits for our  veterans living in North Carolina.

Partner - Leigh Peek, attorney at law p.c.

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Noah is a practicing trial attorney with extensive experience in all aspects of district court.  He has found great fulfillment providing pro bono and low-cost legal services, including volunteering to represent domestic violence victims for Legal Aid.

Affordable housing advisory board

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For the past 4 years, Noah has served our community as an advocate for affordable housing on the Orange County Affordable Housing Advisory Board.  

2019 Diversity & inclusion award

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As a recipient of the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Award presented by Lawyer's Weekly, Noah has been recognized for his commitment to building a legal system that guarantees justice for ALL.

Legal leader

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As the past president of the Orange County Bar Association, Noah has worked for years to improve the local legal community.  Currently, Noah has been appointed to serve on the NCBA Professionalism Committee , is a key member of the international Attorney Exchange Program, has worked with the Chief Justice's Committee on Professionalism to support mentoring programs for new attorneys

ready to lead

Our community needs judicial leaders whose experience connects them to the realities of life.

 A judge must be empathetic to the needs and concerns of those individuals who stand before them so that they can, with fairness and respect, provide for justice in all circumstances.  Many people in the court system identify judicial temperament and attitude as the most important characteristics of a judge.  When I think of a judge, I want to know that I can trust them to be fair, empathetic, and decisive.


My earliest memory of the concept of justice takes me back to kindergarten at Grady A. Brown Elementary School in Hillsborough.  I am told I have always had an affable personality and have engaged with everyone around me, making friends quickly and enjoying the company of others.  There was a boy, Jared, in my class who struggled to follow the rules. As my teacher’s frustration increased, Jared was not included in many of the fun activities we enjoyed like recess, library visits and computer time.  Although it was clear when he didn’t follow the rules, I didn’t like the idea that he would be excluded on a daily basis.  I remember talking with my teacher and coming up with a plan that would allow me and another friend to support Jared and help him without him being left out of class activities.  Throughout the rest of the year, he was able to enjoy the same activities as the rest of our class and I began to see that effective discipline can come in many forms.


As a young attorney, I thought I was learning about parenting and children through the subject matter of my cases.  While that was true, I developed a whole new picture of what “best interest” can mean in the context of a child after the birth of my daughter.  As the proud father of two children, a boy and girl, I have first hand experience that has confirmed that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to children and their healthy development.  As my wife and I have applied concepts of compassionate parenting, tender guidance, and unconditional love to my children, we have seen the benefits to them and learned that we can’t predict the outcomes.  I have learned to rely on lessons of the past and innovations of modernity in growing my own understanding, expertise, and experience.  I know that I can pair that knowledge with the guidance of legal and third-party professionals to fulfill the responsibilities of a judge in our district court. 


I have been in the courts for more than 15 years.  My trial experience started as a legal intern, but my personal trial work began just days after having been sworn in to practice law.   I have continued to represent clients in the courtroom on a daily and weekly basis.  Working closely with our judges in trials regarding criminal law, child custody, social services investigations, family support, divorce, property division, and complex civil litigation has given me a unique, hands-on mentorship with some of the best judges in our state.  I have received personal counsel and admonition from them regarding judicial temperament, compassion, justice, honesty, and fairness that cannot be replicated.  I can hope to emulate and honor the legacy of the judges who have taught me the meaning of justice and the great respect I have for our legal system.


During law school, I worked at the North Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs.  On a daily basis we addressed the complex system that often hinders the ability of  our honorable veterans to obtain  the benefits that they earned through their service.  As a leader in the local Bar Association, I have been a part of the County Courthouse Committee and the Judicial Equity Committee which focus on the processes and systems in our Courthouse that can confuse, frustrate and impair our consituency’s ability to obtain the relief they deserve.  As a judge, I plan to continue this work and to create a courtroom where the public is given honest and accurate expectations regarding procedure and process, and where individuals leave having been served with respect and dignity.  


For more than 15 years I have worked, hands on, with complicated and emotional child custody cases and our local civil Guardian ad Litem program.  As a trained Guardian ad Litem, I have been called upon by our sitting judges to use my personal and professional experience to make specific recommendations about the best interests of children whose future lies in the hands of the Court.  There is nothing that can prepare a potential judge more than being asked to independently investigate and evaluate the facts and circumstances of a family’s life, make recommendations to the Judge about potential judicial outcomes and then to answer questions about your judgement for the Court and the parties.


Noah has been preparing to serve in our judiciary for years and is ready to serve on our bench.

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key areas of experience

Experience in and out of the courtroom

 My experience as a practicing attorney has warranted my appointment to the Orange County Courts Committee and the Judicial Equity Committee which address key components of how and why our district is run the way it is.  I have personally handled over 300 criminal cases and more than 200 civil cases covering every aspect of law before our district courts.  Our courts cannot afford to be stalled by the decision paralysis of someone who needs to be caught up to speed on how this district functions, educated on new areas of law, or trained on how to manage a large docket.


Family Law - I am a respected and veteran domestic trial attorney.  Attorneys and various judicial stakeholders turn to me for guidance, assistance and mentoring.  From the first day I was eligible to practice law as a student, I have run the weekly court sessions for child support enforcement in this County.  I have tried all varieties of family law cases including divorces, child custody, emergency custody orders, child and spousal support, social services cases, interstate custody and support issues, enforcement and defense of separation agreements, and domestic violence cases.  Outside of litigated conclusions, I have worked to settle countless cases through mediation and arbitration.  As a trained Guardian ad Litem I am relied upon by or local judges to investigate, evaluate, and make recommendations in difficult and complex custody matters.  My legal work and ongoing legal education have taught me the law, my extensive courtroom experience in this district has taught me how our local courts function and allows me to see potential flaws or errors in local procedure, my engagement with my clients, my personal experiences in marriage and family, and my ongoing commitment to service in our community has taught me how to empathize and know our local people.

    

My first trial took place the day after I was sworn in to the practice of law.   My client had come to me alone, scared, confused and worried - her husband had left her and their children, she hadn’t worked for more than a decade, and he was refusing to provide financial support.  As we entered the courtroom, I knew the urgency of her situation and shared her anxiety as we presented the facts of her case.  When we left the courtroom, she had a court order which assured that she would have adequate resources to maintain her home and a renewed hope of a bright future for her and her children.  That hearing pointed my sights on service in the judiciary as I gained a deep understanding of how the decisive action of a District Court Judge changes the lives of individuals and families. 


I also recall several incidents where I have been called upon by sitting judges to apply my wisdom, experience and expertise in matters pending in the courtroom.  It has become a somewhat common occurrence to be summoned to weigh in on complicated issued of child support including disability, military pay, and self-employment.  Additionally, I have been appointed to serve as Guardian ad Litem upon the motion and request of our local judges.  There is nothing closer to the responsibilities of a district court judge than being asked to serve in that capacity in a child custody matter.  The expectation that you will evaluate the evidence, weigh the facts, and give best interest recommendations to the court is humbling and I have been honored to be trusted to do so for our Courts. 


Criminal Law - I have represented clients at every phase of the criminal process.  I have conducted initial bond hearings, negotiated traffic tickets, addressed misdemeanors and driving while impaired cases, participated in sentencing and compliance hearings.  In my work in criminal court, I have noticed the dangerous tendency to reduce matters and defendants to a transactional process that evaluates allegations, criminal records and statutory outcomes in a way that dehumanizes and devalues defendants and their circumstances.  To stop that from happening, a district court judge has to have empathy for the people and circumstances before them; they must be able to understand the pains of the victims, and the fearful uncertainty the process instills upon defendants.  


My empathy is rooted in a personal experience where a friend from my church was murdered in his home years ago.  His life had been hard, he struggled as a recovering addict, he was estranged from most of his family and was working to have a relationship with his young daughter who lived with her mother.  I vividly remember receiving the call where I was told that he had been murdered, I was distraught.  I remember the grief I felt, the sadness.  As I learned about the circumstances that led to his execution, I anticipated the legal consequences of their actions.  As they entered guilty pleas and were sentenced, the heavy grief I carried did not go away; their conviction was not a miracle balm of comfort.  It took years to overcome that loss and I know that dozens of individuals and families struggle with those feelings each day in our Courts.  


I also recall a client of mine who, unrelated to my representation, was convicted of serious federal crimes and is now in prison.  I will never forget meeting with him to discuss the future his daughter would have in his absence.  The agony he conveyed as he understood the impact of his conviction on his family was tangible.  Although I have represented hundreds of clients in criminal matters of varying severity, I know that each one of those cases represents an individual defendant and groups of people who may be collateral impacted by the allegations and outcomes in the criminal case.  


I am committed to giving every case in our district court an independent treatment under the law, and conveying dignity, compassion and respect to all the participants in each proceeding.  


Juvenile Justice - Our local juvenile justice system is a testimony to the strength that comes through quality partnerships between justice stakeholders.  As a former athletics coach at a local high school, I have studied and worked with the uniqueness of the adolescent mind.  I know that there are circumstances where the undeveloped mind makes poor decisions despite having a stout support structure at home and in school;  I know that youth who don’t have those supports can struggle to overcome the pressures of their teenage peers; and I know that the actions of juvenile can permanently change the lives of their friends, families, and neighbors.  Our justice system cannot universally apply a structure of discipline that imposes structured penalties on youth at various stages of development.  Locally we benefit from the assistance of the Criminal Justice Resource Department and many qualified service providers who can help the Court and the District Attorney navigate the complexities of the adolescent mind as in intersects with the justice system.  Certainly accountability is an essential component of a successful society, but the compassionate and supportive application of appropriate resources can set a juvenile on the pathway to lifelong success rather than leaving them adrift on a river destined for failure and hardship.  In my practice I have worked with domestic litigation and social services matters that have run parallel to many issues of juvenile justice include crimes committed by teenagers, school disciplinary issues, mental health involuntary commitments and more.  In each case, the facts were unique and the outcomes vastly different, but I cannot express enough admiration for our judicial officials who work with strong community resources in building support systems that can address not only the implicated youth, but their families as well.

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