MEET THE CANDIDATES
Judge Richard Dietz
NC Supreme Court
Richard Dietz has served as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals for eight years.
Judge Dietz comes from a mountain family of railroad and telephone workers. From an early age, his parents encouraged him to study hard and to get an education. He succeeded, becoming the first in his family to attend college. He went on to graduate first in his class from Wake Forest University School of Law and later earned a master’s degree from Duke University School of Law.
As a lawyer, Judge Dietz became one of the most accomplished appellate advocates in North Carolina. He has personally argued in the U.S. Supreme Court—something only a handful of lawyers in the State have ever done—and is a board-certified specialist in appellate practice. He handled cases in a wide range of constitutional areas including gun rights, religious liberty, and the free speech rights of students.
Before joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Dietz was a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, a 650-lawyer international law firm with its roots in North Carolina. He also served as a law clerk for two highly regarded federal judges—Judge Emory Widener on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Judge Samuel Wilson on the U.S. District Court in Virginia—and served as a research fellow in international law at Kyushu University in Japan.
Judge Dietz joined the Court of Appeals in 2014 and is now the third-most senior judge on the 15-member court. He has distinguished himself on the Court by writing thoughtful opinions that are concise and easy for the public to read and understand.
Judge Dietz is happily married to Kelley Dietz, who is both the love of his life and his most trusted advisor. Kelley is a former Capitol Hill staffer and political appointee of President George W. Bush who now works in higher education.
NC Supreme Court
Curtis "Trey" Allen was born in Robeson County to Curtis and Elaine Allen. He obtained a bachelor's degree from UNC Pembroke and a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill.
Trey began his legal career as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps. He spent most of his time in the USMC overseas, and his military service included a deployment to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a judge advocate, Trey advised commanding generals and subordinate commanders on military justice and operational law matters, prosecuted violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and helped fellow Marines resolve personal legal issues.
After being honorably discharged, Trey completed a clerkship with Justice (now Chief Justice) Paul Newby of the NC Supreme Court. He then practiced education law and became a partner at Tharrington Smith LLP in Raleigh. While in private practice, Trey successfully litigated cases involving constitutional and other claims before administrative agencies, federal and state trial courts, and appellate courts, including the NC Supreme Court. In 2013 he joined the faculty at UNC Chapel Hill, where his research, writing, and teaching focused on local government law. Trey was named Coates Distinguished Term Associate Professor of Public Law and Government for 2020-2022.
Following Paul Newby's installation as Chief Justice in January 2021, Trey was appointed General Counsel for the NC Administrative Office of the Courts. In that capacity, he provides legal guidance on a broad range of subjects to court officials across the state.
Trey is married to Teryn Melissa Smith Allen, another Robeson County native. Together they have five (awesome) children, all of whom they homeschool. Church activities, sports, and Scouting take up much of the family's free time.
Judge Donna Stroud
NC Court of Appeals
Chief Judge Donna S. Stroud was born in Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina in 1964. She has been married to J. Wilson Stroud since 1986, and they have two adult sons. Judge Stroud is a member of The Shepherd’s Church in Cary, North Carolina.
Chief Judge Stroud graduated from Kinston High School in 1982 and graduated from Campbell University, summa cum laude, with a BA in Government in 1985. Chief Judge Stroud received her Juris Doctor cum laude from the Campbell University School of Law in 1988. In law school, she ranked first in class for each year of law school and upon graduation. She also was a candidate member of the Campbell University Law Review and served as Notes and Comments Editor and a case summary writer for the Campbell Law Observer. She received the Branch Banking and Trust Estate Planning Award.
In May 2014, she graduated from the Duke University School of Law LL.M. program in Judicial Studies. Her thesis from this program has been published in the Campbell Law Review, The Bottom of the Iceberg: Unpublished Opinions, 37 Campbell L. Rev. 333 (2015).
Chief Judge Donna S. Stroud was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in November 2006 and re-elected without opposition in 2014. She was appointed as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals effective January 1, 2021.
Before her service as a judge, Chief Judge Stroud was in private practice of law from 1988 until 2004, when she was elected as a District Court Judge in Wake County. While in private practice, Chief Judge Stroud was also a certified Superior Court mediator and a District Court arbitrator. Chief Judge Stroud served as a Family Court Judge while on the District Court. Chief Judge Stroud has been teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Campbell University School of Law since 2008, teaching Judicial Process and Juvenile Law. Judge Stroud was admitted to the North Carolina bar on September 16, 1988, and to the bar of the United States District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina in 1991.
Over the years, Chief Judge Stroud has been a member of many professional organizations. She currently serves as a vice president of the North Carolina Bar Association and serves on the Appellate Rules Committee and Women in the Profession Committee. She is also a member of the Wake County Bar Association, and the 10th Judicial District Bar Association.
Chief Judge Stroud has done many presentations at educational programs for the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, and other legal organizations as well as continuing judicial education programs for District Court Judges and Superior Court judges. She is currently a member of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association. She is a member of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys and has served as Chair of the Judicial Division. She currently serves as vice president of the Craven Everett Inn of Court.
Chief Judge Stroud serves as Chair of the Chief Justice’s Rules Advisory Commission. She also serves on the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, the Family Court Advisory Commission, and the North Carolina Courts Commission. She served as an ex officio member of the Dispute Resolution Committee and Mediation Coordinator for the Court of Appeals. In 2015, she was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory to the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use.
Judge John M. Tyson
NC Court of Appeals
Judge John M. Tyson was elected statewide in 2014 and presently serves on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and as Vice Chair of the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission. He also served as an elected Republican Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2001 until 2009 and was commissioned as a Recall Judge from 2009 to 2014. Judge Tyson was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory as Chairman of the North Carolina State Ethics Commission.
Judge Tyson maintains a conservative judicial philosophy that protects individual freedoms, self-defense, private property, parental and rights of the unborn, and the separation of powers where the legislature makes policy. These core beliefs and foundations are reflected in his more than 3,500 judicial opinions over the past 20 years. He was elected to and is a member of the North Carolina Republican Party Hall of Fame.
Judge Tyson is a North Carolina State Bar Board-Certified Specialist–Real Property Law–Business, Commercial, and Industrial Transactions since 2001 (re-certified in 2007, 2012, and 2017), and is the only North Carolina judge so certified. He holds the highest AV preeminent peer-reviewed professional rating from Martindale Hubbell–Lexis/Nexis. He was selected as a North Carolina Leader in the Law in 2019.
An advocate of life-long learning, Judge Tyson earned a Master of Laws in Judicial Process (LL.M.) from the University of Virginia School of Law (2004); a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business (1988); a Juris Doctor (J.D.) with honors from Campbell University School of Law (1979–Member of the Charter Class); and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A. that) from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (1974).
Judge Tyson has been teaching as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law since 1987 and last year at Elon University School of Law. Judge Tyson is a member of both the North Carolina and Virginia State Bars, a Certified Mediator and Arbitrator, is a past Commissioner of the North Carolina Property Tax Commission, and past elected Chairman of both the Cumberland County Joint Planning Board and the Cumberland Soil and Water Conservation District.
Judge Tyson’s over forty years of professional experience includes the private practice of law and senior level corporate real estate development and counsel positions with three national corporations. Judge Tyson is also a frequent continuing legal education author and presenter. Judge Tyson has been married to his wife, Kirby, for 46 years. They are parents of four children and grandparents to four children.
Judge Michael J. Stading
NC Court of Appeals
Michael is a native and lifelong resident of North Carolina. He is the son of a North Carolina public school teacher and construction engineer. He graduated from Independence High School where he was captain of the wrestling team and began dating his wife Jennie. Michael completed undergraduate studies in business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and law school at Campbell University. After earning his law degree, Michael and Jennie returned to their hometown where they raise their three children. In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, CrossFit, running, and coaching baseball.
Michael is an active member of the community where he served as pro bono legal counsel to the Mint Hill Athletic Association and Judge Advocate for American Legion Post #555. He is also a member of Mint Hill Kiwanis, Mint Hill Historical Society, Mecklenburg Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution, Charlotte Chapter of the Federalist Society, and a Worship Coordinator at Christ Covenant Church.
Since his admission to the North Carolina State Bar in 2006, Michael has practiced civil law and a substantial amount of criminal law. In addition to the North Carolina State Bar, he has been admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, the Western District of North Carolina Federal Court, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Michael has an exceptionally broad base of legal experience not simply limited to one side of the courtroom. He served as an assistant district attorney in Mecklenburg County for more than five years where he worked diligently in pursuit of preserving the safety of the community. He was counsel in numerous bench trials and jury trials. In 2012, Michael successfully completed the requirements of the North Carolina State Bar to become a Board Certified Specialist in North Carolina Criminal Law. This accomplishment requires a high level of competence in criminal litigation, substantial involvement in criminal trials conducted to verdict, representation as principal counsel in serious felonies, many appearances in substantive criminal proceedings, and a spotless track record of professional conduct backed by judicial and peer references. In 2018, he successfully completed the requirements of specialist recertification.
In 2019, Michael was sworn in as a Special Assistant United States Attorney to handle cases originating out of Shaw Air Force Base. Until his investiture as a district court judge in January of 2019, Michael operated his own law practice where he zealously and effectively represented thousands of clients. As a part of his law practice, it has been Michael’s privilege to serve as one of a few select attorneys for the Fraternal Order of Police at Lodge #9 where he provided necessary legal services to law enforcement officers. In his current role as a judge, Michael continues to contribute to the betterment of the court system and legal profession by serving as a Truancy Court judge, Drug STEP Court judge, lead domestic violence judge and member of the Mecklenburg County Bar Professionalism Committee. He regularly presides over criminal, civil, and domestic cases. Moreover, he has the distinct honor to litigate while wearing the uniform of the United States Air Force as a Captain for the Judge Advocate General’s Corp. In 2016, he took the oath to commission as an officer in the United States Air Force. Thereafter, Michael graduated from Officer Training School, Judge Advocate General’s School, and Squadron Officer School (Distinguished Graduate). His station of duty is the legal office at the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base. As a reservist, he will continue to have the opportunity to serve the higher calling of our nation throughout the year.
*Michael J. Stading is a reservist for the United States Air Force. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Air Force or the Department of Defense.
Dr. Julee Flood
NC Court of Appeals
Dr. Julee Tate Flood brings to the Court of Appeals legal experience that includes serving nine appellate jurists as a researcher and drafter of hundreds of judicial opinions; teaching courses in law schools, a paralegal program, and a graduate education program; and serving as in-house counsel and managing partner for a co-owned private sector business employing approximately 60 team members. Her scholarship includes both legal and higher education publications. Her opinion writing reflects adherence to a textualist judicial philosophy: that the law says what it says and means what it says, and does not mean what it does not say. She serves on the bench and bar committee for the Tenth Judicial District and Wake County Bar Associations. In the community, she serves on two board governance-related committees for a faith-motivated, equine therapy program for girls. Married to her college sweetheart for 37 years, Julee is the mother of four adult sons who were homeschooled through high school, and grandmother to five. She loves to be with her family; other hobbies include long walks, horseback riding, and fitness classes.