Under the Dome

Jim Wynn

Office District Status
N.C. Court of Appeals Statewide Incumbent
Party In Office Since Term Ends
Non-Partisan Office 1990 2016
Level of Government  
N.C. Court of Appeals  
Date of Birth Birthplace Now Lives In
March 17, 1954 Robersonville, NC Cary, NC


Jim Wynn may get another shot at the U.S. Court of Appeals' Fourth Circuit. A longtime judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals, Wynn was nominated by President Clinton to a judgeship but was blocked by then Sen. Jesse Helms. The son of a carpenter and a nurse's aide, he studied journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill before earning a law degree. He became an Appeals court judge in 1990 and is now a senior associate judge. In that role, he helped push for the bill that made judicial races nonpartisan in North Carolina. He has served in the U.S. Navy Reserves for nearly three decades.


He is a deacon in the Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Robersonville. 


AFL-CIO of N.C., Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, N.C. Association of Educators, N.C. Troopers Association, Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, Former Chief Justices Rhoda Billings, Jim Exum, Burley Mitchell, Henry Frye, North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, Inc.


Marital Status
Jacqueline Dee
Three sons: Javius, Conlan, Jaeander

Jim Wynn is a senior associate judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals and possible nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Early Life and Education

James A. Wynn Jr. was born on March 17, 1954, in Robersonville, N.C., to Naomi and James Wynn Sr. His father was a carpenter and his mother a nurse's aide.

He graduated from Robersonville High School in 1972.

He received a bachelor of arts in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1975.

He then earned a law degree from Marquette University Law School in 1979. 

In 1995, he received a master's degree in judicial process from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Military Experience

From 1979 to 1983, Wynn served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Navy on Active Duty. Since then, he has been a reservist.

Legal Career

From 1984 to 1990, he worked in general law with future U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield at the firm of Fitch, Butterfield and Wynn in Wilson and Greenville. 

Judicial Career

In 1990, Wynn was elected to serve the remaining two years of a judgeship on the N.C. Court of Appeals. He was re-elected to an eight-year term in 1992.

In 1998, Gov. Jim Hunt appointed him to a three-month stint on the N.C. Supreme Court, but Wynn lost an election for the seat and was then reappointed to the Appeals court.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton nominated Wynn to be the first African-American to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, but U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms blocked his confirmation.

Clinton renominated him shortly before leaving office in 2001, but President George W. Bush returned his nomination and put forth the name of Terrence Boyle, whose nomination also stalled over partisan differences.

In 2000 and 2008, Wynn was re-elected to the Appeals court.

During the 2002 legislative session, he worked for the enactment of the N.C. Judicial Campaign Reform Act, which made the state's judicial elections nonpartisan.

In 2009, several observers speculated that President Barack Obama might renominate Wynn to the U.S. Court of Appeals on the recommendation of Sen. Kay Hagan

Research and reporting by Ryan Teague Beckwith. 


Senior Associate Judge
North Carolina Court of Appeals

Community Involvement:

   Deacon, Providence Missionary Baptist Church

   Chair, Judicial Division, American Bar Association

   Executive Board, Division Chair, National Conference of Uniform State Laws

   Vice Chair, Board of Directors, Justice At Stake Campaign

   Past Vice President, North Carolina Bar Association

   Former Trustee, North Carolina Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) Committee

   Judicial Council, North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers

   Former Trustee, Pitt Community College, Greenville, N.C.

   Honors and Awards:

   - Marquette University, “All University Alumni Merit Award”

   - Marquette University School Of Law, “Hallows Fellow and Visiting Scholar”

   - General Baptist Convention Martin Luther King Achievement Award

   - Warren Burger Scholarship for John Marshall Harlan Symposium on Comparative Law in England and Scotland

   - N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers Appellate Judge of the Year

   Fitch, Butterfield & Wynn, Attorneys at Law, Wilson and Greenville, NC, 1984-90

Contact Info


Judge Jim Wynn Reelection Committee
P.O. Box 1091, Raleigh, N.C. 27602


bachelor of arts
UNC-Chapel Hill
Graduated: 1975
juris doctorate
Marquette University Law School
Graduated: 1979
master of laws
University of Virginia School of Law
Graduated: 1995


Years of service:


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