Orr takes DA office
by Anna Oakes
Robert Orr, a former N.C. Supreme Court justice and N.C. Court of Appeals judge, was sworn in as district attorney for the 24th Judicial District on Wednesday at the Watauga County Courthouse.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Philip Ginn administered the oath of office to Orr before dozens of attorneys, court staff, law enforcement officers and others.
Orr said he received the commission to serve as district attorney on Monday from Gov. Pat McCrory, who was tasked with appointing someone to fill the seat after the unexpected departure of District Attorney Jerry Wilson. Wilson retired March 31 due to health problems.
"It's a privilege and an honor. I appreciate the governor's confidence," Orr said after being sworn in. "I look forward to working with each and every one of you."
In opening remarks, Ginn echoed statements he made earlier in the week about what he called a "disconcerting" and delayed appointment process.
"I don't know of a time in the 24th Judicial District where there's been any more stress than what we've been through in the past two weeks," Ginn said Wednesday, referring not only to Wilson's retirement but also to the retirement of Chief District Court Judge Alexander Lyerly.
Ginn also administered the oath of office to the assistant district attorneys of the 24th District, which includes Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties. Orr, who spent seven years as director of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, distributed a copy of the North Carolina Constitution to each of the assistant district attorneys.
Orr said he and his staff would work hard "to get caught up" and that "my office is open."
Orr told Watauga Democrat earlier in the week that he intended to retain the current staff of the district attorney's office.
Orr will serve until a new district attorney is elected this year. He is taking a leave of absence from the law firm Poyner & Spruill to take the appointment.