U.S. District Court honors Judge Beaty

Judge James Beaty and family take a photo next to the portrait unveiled during a special session held by the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of North Carolina last week.

U.S. District Court honors Judge Beaty
April 06
06:00 2017

Photo by Morrell Pridgen

Senior federal district judge gets portrait in Greensboro courtroom



The U.S. District Court of the Middle District of North Carolina held a special session last week to honor the life and legacy of Senior U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty Jr.

A portrait was unveiled of Judge Beaty with his trademark black robe and a confident grin while standing in front of a cabinet as family members, friends, former colleagues and dozens of other well-wishers looked on.

The portrait will hang inside the U.S. District Courtroom on West Market Street in Greensboro.

“As I thought about this day and this occasion, I couldn’t help but think about the television show ‘This Is Your Life,’” smiled Beaty. “I’m certainly proud to be here. I had a lot of help along the way, and I’m truly grateful to everyone I worked with over the years.”

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina in 1971, Beaty a native of Whitmore, S.C., by way of Thomasville, went on to receive his law degree from the University of North Carolina in 1974. That same year Beaty entered private practice in Winston-Salem. In 1981, Beaty became a judge of the Superior Court of Forsyth County, where he would serve until his appointment to the U.S. District Court bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994. For more than 20 years, Beaty served on the bench before taking senior status in 2014. Senior status is a form of semi-retirement for United States federal judges. A judge must be at least 65 years old and have served in federal courts for 15 years to qualify.

At the federal level, Judge Beaty handled more than 2,000 criminal cases and 4,000 civil cases. While looking back on his accomplishments, Beatty said, “My goal over the years as a judge has not been about giving lectures but about doing the job.

“I may not have been the nicest person over the years but it was about getting the job done and upholding the law,” Beaty said.

District Judge Thomas Schroeder said during his time as chief magistrate, Judge Beaty led the Middle District, which has jurisdiction over 24 counties and five major cities, including Winston-Salem and Greensboro, through some tough times. He said, “Even when we our resources were low and our workload was high throughout his service Judge Beaty has always been the embodiment of an impartial and fully independent judiciary.

“I think it’s fitting that his portrait be hung in this courtroom and he be honored in this fashion,” continued Schroeder. “It will serve as a reminder for all of us who come in this courtroom and to all of us as judges of Judge Beaty’s character and his service to this court.”

After reading a quote from an article printed in The Chronicle following Judge Beatty’s announcement that he would be taking senior status, Chief Judge William Olsteen Jr., who was appointed lead jurist in 2012, said the citizens of this state and this country have been privileged and blessed to have the service of Judge Beaty. “Judge Beaty’s portrait on the wall of this courtroom will serve as a reminder to all of us, of the high standards you maintained and continue to uphold to this day,” Olsteen said. “The portraits that hang on the wall of this courtroom are of legends, and after today another legend will be added.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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