chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

2020 Honoree

Cheri Beasley is the first African-American woman in the North Carolina Supreme Court’s 200-year history to serve as Chief Justice.  She has been on the state’s highest Court since 2012 and was named Chief Justice in March of 2019.

Justice Beasley also served four years as an Associate Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and was a District Court Judge for a decade in the 12th Judicial District in Cumberland County.  Before beginning her judicial career in 1999, Beasley was a public defender in Cumberland County.  

Cheri Beasley believes passionately in having an independent judicial branch that administers justice fairly and she also knows the courts can play an important role in helping people better their lives. That’s why she is working to engage schools, law enforcement, faith leaders, and other stakeholders in discussions about important community issues.  And by implementing online services and increasing the number of specialty courts, she’s also working to make the judicial system more accessible to all North Carolinians.

Cheri Beasley’s commitment to fair and accessible courts extends beyond the halls of justice. She has mentored countless students and judges, lectures at area law schools, and travels nationwide and abroad to promote the rule of law, the administration of justice, the importance of an independent judiciary, and fair judicial selection. 

A graduate of The University of Tennessee College of Law and Douglass College of Rutgers University, Chief Justice Beasley earned a Master of Laws (L.L.M.) in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law. She has held several leadership roles in the American Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association, and has received a number of awards for her leadership and public service.  

Cheri Beasley and her husband, Curtis Owens, are the proud parents of twin sons, Thomas and Matthew, who are college students.  They are members of First Baptist Church in Raleigh.