Choosing Albert Kirby to succeed the late Doug Parsons as Superior Court Judge in District 4A, which serves Sampson, Jones and Duplin counties, was a good day’s work for Gov. Roy Cooper. And it was yet another bright day for our county, which has been fortunate to see many fine men chosen for judicial seats.
Those would include folks like Judge Leonard Thaggard, Judge Billy Sutton and, of course, Parsons, just to name the most recent jurists.
In each case, we have been privileged to have men of honor take seats on the bench, individuals like Parsons who have always understood that the positions they’ve been blessed to receive should bring humbleness and not ego, and that when they put on the black robe, they should also cloak themselves in fairness, compassion and integrity.
We believe Kirby will follow that same mantra, having been raised by parents who taught him humility, to work hard, to give back, to serve his Lord and his community and to never forget his roots.
Over the course of his life, Kirby has proven to be just that kind of man.
A Sampson native and Clinton High graduate, Kirby returned to the place that gave him so much to practice law and, eventually, to serve as the attorney for the Clinton City Schools system and as a county commissioner representing the people of District 5.
It was Parsons and his then law partner, Dale Johnson, who saw great potential in Kirby, a star CHS athlete and a young man who loved Sampson County. Kirby clerked for the two legal eagles in the early 80s, when he was finishing college at Wake Forest, and he learned much from the two men, not only about the law but about returning some of what you’ve been given to the community which supports you.
With over 25 years of law experience under his belt, there’s no question Kirby has the qualifications to hold the judge’s seat he will soon be officially sworn into. That time has not yet been set, but according to a Wednesday Sampson Independent article the logistics will be determined as Kirby works to close his law office and relinquish his seat on the Sampson County Board of Commissioners.
Relinquishing that seat points to one of the ways we have seen Kirby grow in understanding and humility. While he believes that “technically” he could maintain his commissioner’s seat, he doesn’t feel that would be the appropriate or fair thing to do.
Even a slight appearance of impropriety, Kirby believes, would not be befitting the seat he is about to take.
In our estimation, Kirby is not only doing the right thing but he used a common sense approach in making the decision, understanding just the kind of thing Parsons always talked about — service above self, humility over ego and honor to the bench.
Kirby will bring his own style to the judicial seat he will soon hold, but he will also bring decades of growth, understanding of the law and deep Sampson roots that, we believe, will make him an honest, fair and remarkable judge.