Retired Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Robert H. Hobgood received the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award on March 18, 2022, in the Franklin County courtroom he presided over for more than 38 years. Presenting him the award on behalf of the North Carolina State Bar was Charles Davis, himself a recipient of the award in 2017. Judge W. Allen Cobb Jr. also participated in the presentation.
Judge Hobgood was born in Louisburg, NC, in 1946. He received an AB degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1968. He began his distinguished years of public service as a second lieutenant in the United States Army from 1968 to 1971. He continued to serve in the National Guard from 1974 to 1983. Judge Hobgood graduated from the UNC School of Law in 1974 and opened his own law office in Louisburg, NC. He also served in the NC House of Representatives in 1979.
In 1980, Judge Hobgood was appointed by Governor Jim Hunt to the North Carolina Superior Court bench. He served as the senior resident superior court judge for the Ninth Judicial District until his mandatory retirement in 2018. Judge Hobgood is the longest serving superior court judge in the history of the State of North Carolina. During his time on the bench, Judge Hobgood was elected by his peers as president of the NC Conference of Superior Court Judges and served as a member of the NC Courts Commission. He served as a delegate to the National Conference of State Trial Judges from 1997 to 2000 and as judicial liaison for the Computer Litigation Section of the ABA in 1999.
Judge Hobgood served as a member of the Board of Governors of the NC Bar Association from 1978 to 1981 and served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Law Foundation at UNC School of Law. He taught business law classes at Louisburg College, and in 1988 received the Louisburg College Medallion Award. He continued to cultivate his own knowledge of the law, earning his master’s in judicial studies degree from the National Judicial College, University of Nevada at Reno, in 1997.
For more than 20 years Judge Hobgood served as chair of the Conference of Superior Court Judges Pattern Jury Instruction Committee. He served as a superior court judge representative on the Judicial Council. In 2001, Chief Justice I Beverly Lake Jr. asked Judge Hobgood to serve as the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. While serving as director of the statewide court system, he nevertheless simultaneously carried out his administrative duties as the senior resident judge in the Ninth Judicial District at night and on weekends.
Judge Hobgood is admired, respected, and appreciated throughout the entire legal community. North Carolina, her citizens, and the overall administration of justice have been well served by the service of Judge Hobgood.
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