James Asks State To Probe Felons Remark by Warren
May 14, 1999
P. O. Box 2138, Charlotte, NC 28233
By Stephanie Gibbs, Raleigh Bureau
RALEIGH Mecklenburg commissioner Bill James has asked for an investigation of
Superior Court Judge Ray Warren for calling himself a felon and criticizing a political
James, a Republican, said he mailed complaints to the N.C. Judicial Standards
Commission and Attorney General Mike Easley on Tuesday. An Easley spokesman said Easley
doesnt plan to investigate the case.
James complaints are based on a column Warren recently wrote in a newspaper
geared toward gays. Warren, a longtime Republican and early James supporter, announced in
December that he was homosexual. He resigned from the party last month.
James complained to the seven-member commission that Warren referred to himself and a
friend in the column as "two class I felons with gay agendas consisting
of family, work, relationships, God and community."
Warren said that he was referring to the states anti-sodomy law, but that he
wasnt admitting hed engaged in sodomy.
"Without saying whether I do or I dont, I simply took Bill James
assumption that I do and ran with it," Warren said Thursday.
James said that he doesnt know which felony Warren was referring to, but that it
"Whatever the crime he is admitting to, I can think of no reason that a sitting
judge should be able to (flout) the law by publicly stating that he is violating the
law," James wrote to Easley.
James complained to the commission that Warrens criticism of former Mayor Richard
Vinroot in the same column amounted to participation in political activities, which he
noted would violate the states Code of Judicial Conduct.
Warren wrote that Vinroot, the Republican former mayor of Charlotte who is running for
governor, "has decided to join the lynch mob." Warren quoted Vinroot as saying a
gay pride march in Charlotte "promoted a gay agenda . . . not good for the
Warren said he wasnt telling people not to vote for Vinroot. "I just took a
comment he made and took issue with what he said," Warren said.
Warren called James complaint "sort of silly on its face."
"Its the equivalent of Jerry Falwell criticizing Tinky Winky,"
referring to the television cartoon character that Falwell suggested is gay, Warren said.
James, he said, "is reveling in his public role as inquisitor and persecutor of gay
Warren was one of James earliest backers, supporting his run for the City Council
in 1993. Both men have contributed to each others campaigns.
James said he filed the complaint because Warrens column sounded "like he
was sticking his finger in the eye of the law."
"If he was to keep it to himself, quietly and with some dignity say,
Im gay, thats one thing," James said. "But when he
flouts the law, that requires a response from the law."
Easleys spokesman said James should send his complaint to the Mecklenburg County
"This does not fall under the jurisdiction of the attorney generals
office," Jay Rieff said. "Its up to the local district attorney to decide
whether an investigation of this nature is warranted."
Deborah Carrington, executive secretary of the Judicial Standards Commission, said she
could not comment until the commission had reviewed James complaint. The commission
can recommend to the state Supreme Court that a judge be censured or removed.
Reach Stephanie Gibbs at (919) 834-8471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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