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There will be a three-way race for Halifax County Superior Court judge as Roanoke Rapids attorney Geoffrey P. Davis today announced his intention to file for the office.

Sitting Halifax County Superior Court Judge Norlan Graves and Chief District Court Judge Brenda Branch have both announced their candidacy and have already filed.

In his statement Davis said, “This decision is not made lightly, and is the product of my frustration with our local court system as it currently operates. Over the thirteen years I have practiced law in the Roanoke Valley, I have never seen our court system as backlogged and dysfunctional as it is today. I believe that many citizens of Halifax County share this opinion, and that they deserve a candidate who acknowledges this. When I am elected superior court judge, I know that I can take steps to address these concerns and make them a priority.”

Davis said his mother was raised in Darlington, and he moved to Halifax County with his  parents in 1993. “I graduated from Roanoke Rapids High School, and have lived in Roanoke Rapids since I was 11-years-old. I started practicing law in 2008 as an assistant district attorney under Bill Graham, and after he retired, under Melissa Pelfrey. Since 2010 I have been in private practice at Chichester Law Office in Roanoke Rapids.”

He said, “During this time I've represented thousands of clients in criminal, civil, worker's compensation, and disability matters. I have been incredibly fortunate that my career has allowed me to appear in front of many judges across the state, along with representing clients before the DMV, various administrative agencies and licensing boards, and other similar proceedings. I currently serve as city attorney for Roanoke Rapids.”

Said Davis: “I have truly enjoyed serving the people of Halifax County, first as an assistant district attorney and then in private practice. God willing, I would be gratified to remain a practicing attorney for the rest of my career. But all of my time working within the court system has left me with strong opinions on how the courts should operate; where a court's priorities should be; and how important it is that our courts address the concerns of the public. Every day that a civil case goes undecided in Halifax is another day that the parties' dispute remains unresolved. 

“In criminal cases it means that victims do not receive closure or restitution. Defendants either sit in jail or are forced to live their lives with pending criminal charges impairing their ability to secure and maintain employment and housing. Anyone in this community, regardless of their background, can be the victim of a crime, or find themselves or their family members the subject of criminal charges or civil process — fictitious, exaggerated, or otherwise. In my practice, I literally see it every day.”

Over the years, Davis said, “Halifax County has been blessed with many excellent attorneys and prosecutors. By and large, our law enforcement officers are dedicated professionals, who perform one of the most difficult jobs in our community. But regardless of how great or poor our lawyers or law enforcement are, if the courts are not serving their basic function — to resolve criminal and civil controversies — the situations that led to these cases continue unabated. 

“I have a strong belief in the virtues of hard work, and doing the job you are being paid to do. I firmly believe that we cannot continue to have two-day court sessions where no matters are tried, while serious cases continue to pile up. I am not satisfied that this problem will be solved by judges who do not hold court. To the contrary, I am concerned that we are on the verge of more significant failures of our courts' ability to function should operations continue as they are today.”

Davis said, “I pray for all of us should that happen, because I care deeply for this community and the people in it. Every citizen of Halifax County should feel comfortable that our judicial system will address their grievances in a fair, efficient, and timely manner. No one should feel unsafe in their daily lives, and my heart goes out to those of our neighbors who live in environments where they feel at risk.”

The attorney said, “This is personal for me, because this community is the only home I've had for the past 30 years, and it is where I've chosen to make my career.  My family lives here, and my wife Katie Ammann opened the Music School on the avenue in 2011. Every week, she sees over 100 students of all ages and diverse backgrounds, several of whom have grown to be instructors and family friends as well.

“I am therefore asking the public to support my candidacy by voting for me in the Democratic Primary, which will now be held in May of 2022. Like the majority of our local elections, I expect that the candidate who wins the Democratic Primary will remain unopposed in the general election, and go on to take office beginning in January 2023.”

In closing his statement Davis said, “Anyone who has ever dealt with me knows how highly I value professional service to the community and hard work. By voting for me, you are voting to refocus the operations of our courts on these core values.”