Cooper appoints Stanly’s Phillip Cornett for Judicial District 20A judgeship


ALBEMARLE — On Nov. 13, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced the appointment of two new District Court judges, one of which was Norwood-native Phillip Cornett.  

Cornett, 45, will serve as judge for Judicial District 20A, a seat that has remained empty since the retirement of Judge William Tucker on July 31, 2020. The district covers Stanly and Montgomery counties. 

“I hope to make a real positive impact on my community,” Cornett told SCJ on Nov. 16. “I was born and raised in Norwood, so I’m fully invested in the welfare of this community.” 

Cornett will begin his new role once he officially receives a commission from the governor, likely in seven to 10 days.  

He said that he was excited upon learning about his judicial appointment last weekend, acknowledging that he had a “50-50 chance” as one of two main candidates for the job. 

“It is a privilege and an honor to be appointed to this position. I appreciate the governor’s confidence in my ability,” Cornett said to SCJ in a prepared statement. “I will work hard every day for the citizens of Stanly and Montgomery counties to fulfill the duties and responsibilities placed on me.” 

Cornett, who has several years of experience as a private practice lawyer, has served as the assistant district attorney for Prosecutorial Districts 28 and 16C. Prior to that, he was a Judicial Clerk on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  

Cornett’s education comes by way of Elon University School of Law, where he earned a juris doctor; Western Carolina University, where he earned a bachelor of arts; Stanly Community College, where he earned an associates degree in science; and South Stanly High School. 

“These appointees are bringing years of valuable legal experience to the bench. I know that their expertise and leadership will make them strong, fair district court judges,” Gov. Cooper said in a Nov. 13 press release, addressing Cornett along with newly appointed judge Quintin McGee. 

McGee, who currently serves as the chief assistant district attorney for the state’s 13th and 15th Districts, will take on the role of district court judge in Judicial District 13 for Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties, where a vacancy was left by the retirement of Judge William Fairley.  

McGee is a board member of Communities in Schools of Brunswick County, Bladen County Juvenile Prevention Council, the Boy Scouts of America Cape Fear Council, and has experience working in criminal, civil and family law. He attended the North Carolina Central University School of Law after receiving bachelor degree at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.