Administrative Order for Continuance Policy of the Criminal and Civil Superior Courts

The undersigned Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Judicial District 28 hereby enters the following Administrative Order concerning the Continuance Policy of the Criminal and Civil Superior Courts of Buncombe County:

It is the policy of this Court to provide justice for citizens without unnecessary delay, without undue waste of the time and other resources of the Court, the litigants, and other cases. For all case types and dockets in all courtrooms, the Court looks with strong disfavor on motions and/or requests to continue court events. In order to protect the credibility of scheduled trial dates, trial-date continuances are especially disfavored.

This court further recognizes that, historically, requests for continuances arise when a case is calendared prior to the case being ripe for trial or other hearing (i.e. outstanding discovery, pending ongoing investigation, witness unavailability, etc.). In order to avoid unnecessary continuances, this court will request implementation of local standards by the parties having the responsibility for creating court calendars (the District Attorney in criminal cases and the Trial Court Administrator in civil cases). These local standards will be imposed to screen cases prior to their being placed on any court calendar; this in an effort to avoid the waste of courtroom time and personnel time with the re-calendaring of cases that are not yet ready for actual court involvement toward the progress of the case.


  1. Except in unusual circumstances, any continuance motion and/or request for continuance shall be in writing and filed with the Clerk of Superior Court no later than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the court event for which rescheduling has been requested. Whenever possible, continuance motions and/or requests shall be made using the appropriate forms issued by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, which include:
    A. AOC-CV-221: Motion and Order for Continuance (Civil Superior Cases) for motions to continue in civil Superior Court cases; and
    B. AOC-CR-410: Motion and Order for Continuance (Criminal Superior Court Cases) for motions to continue in criminal Superior Court cases.
  2. Any attorney and/or party requesting a continuance shall state the reasons for the request.
  3. Continuances on agreement of counsel and/or the parties shall not be automatically granted.
  4. The Court shall grant a continuance only for good cause shown unless otherwise provided by law.
  5. Continuances of cases more than eight (8) months old or that have been previously continued are specifically disfavored and shall be granted only in extraordinary circumstances.
  6. Any grant of a continuance motion or request by the Court shall be made on the record, with an indication of the party requesting it and the reasons for granting it. This information shall be noted in the court file and kept by the Clerk.
  7. Whenever possible, the Court shall hold the rescheduled court event no later than sixty (60) days after the date from which it the case was continued.
  8. To the extent that this order conflicts with any statutory provision applicable to a particular continuance motion and/or request, the statutory provision will control.
  9. At least quarterly, the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge shall generate and review a report of pending cases and any data the Administrative Office of the Courts can make available regarding the number of court dates each case has To promote the consistent application of this continuance policy, these reports should be reviewed and discussed with all other Judges in the district, bar representatives and other court-related agencies to seek the resolution of any organizational or systemic problems that may cause unnecessary delay in the timely resolution of all cases.
  10. By entry of this order, this order shall be adopted as a Local Rule and shall be published as a Local rule within the “Local Rules” section for Buncombe County.

Entered and effective as of this 1 st day of March, 2023

Honorable Alan Z. Thornburg
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge
Judicial District 28

Click Continuance Policy 2023 for a copy of the official order.

Asheville City Schools Thanks Superior Court Clerk Steven Cogburn



WHEREAS, the Honorable Steven D. Cogburn is an Asheville native who has dedicated his life to upholding the law and protecting its integrity; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Cogburn served as a Research Assistant to the Honorable Justice J. William Copeland of the North Carolina Supreme Court and he has enjoyed a distinguished career practicing law in North Carolina for the past 40 years; and

WHEREAS, Clerk Cogburn was appointed Clerk of Superior Court by the Honorable Judge Dennis J. Winner in January 2009; and

WHEREAS, Clerk Cogburn has graciously served as an impartial observer for school lotteries to ensure the integrity of student admissions in the Asheville City Schools; and

WHEREAS, Clerk Cogburn has been an invaluable advocate for Asheville City Schools in ensuring the appropriate administration of justice in bond forfeiture matters whereby revenues are payable to the public schools; and

WHEREAS, Clerk Cogburn has announced his retirement and is looking forward to spending well-deserved time with his wife, Anne, and his three sons.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Asheville City Board of Education wishes to express its appreciation and thanks to Clerk Cogburn for his service and dedication to, and his friendship of, Asheville City Schools’ Board members, administrators, teachers and staff members over the course of his impressive 40+ year career.


Read and Approved, this the 13th of February 2023 in open session.

George Sieburg, Chair
Amy Ray, Vice Chair



Update from State Bar Councilor Anna Hamrick

Dear Members of Judicial District 40,

I was honored to represent this judicial district bar at the State Bar Council’s most recent quarterly meeting.  The full synopsis of the quarterly meeting is available here.  The State Bar will send out an email of its own next week, but I wanted to reach out with my personal observations and highlight some important items for you to review in the synopsis and when you receive your copy of the State Bar Journal.

You may notice a new format to these updates.  In an effort to make the councilor reports more consistent across the State, the Bar has developed this template for councilors to use.  I am asking Lisa-Gaye Hall to send it with your Bar Briefs, as opposed to it coming to you as a separate email from me.  I figured we can all use less in our inbox.  Please let me know your thoughts on the new look!

In addition to the synopsis in the above link, here are a few of my thoughts and comments:

Our new President, Marcia Armstrong, has started us off on a great year.  Some of her areas of focus for the year are addressing legal deserts, reviewing the random audit process, and helping with lawyer succession planning.

I am on the following committees for 2023:  Appointments, Communications (chair), Distinguished Service Award, Executive and Grievance.  I look forward to working on these committees and trying to make the Bar work for you.  As I am chair of Communications, I am especially eager to hear if you have any suggestions or thoughts on how the Bar communicates with you.  For example, do you want more updates?  What do you think about the Bar’s website (we are revamping it this year and I would love to hear your thoughts)?  Where can the Bar improve how it communicates with you?  Please let me know – thank you!

On the CLE front, the final rules are not yet done, but it looks like the Bar is moving toward allowing 12 hours of carryover and having us report every two years (instead of the originally proposed term of every three years).

Here are the most recent statistics on some of the Bar activities:  (these may not be of much interest, but I like how it gives you some quantifier of what the Bar spends a lot of its time doing during the year).

During the fourth quarter, ACAP staff responded to 1,649 phone calls from members of the public and placed 69 calls to lawyers. Staff also responded to 886 emails from members of the public and attorneys and responded to 417 letters from inmates. In addition, there were 16 translations completed of fee dispute petitions submitted in Spanish. Intake logged 3,859 entries.

The State Bar opened 128 petitions for fee dispute resolution during the quarter.  In 2018, 1,247 grievance files were opened. In 2019, 1,254 grievance files were opened. In 2020, 927 grievance files were opened. In 2021, 986 grievance files were opened. In 2022, 1,404 grievance files were opened. As of January 13, 57 grievance files have been opened in 2023.  As of January 13, 1,629 grievances were pending. One hundred ninety-six grievances were stayed. Thirty-five pending files were in judicial district grievance committees or had been returned by district grievance committees within the past 30 days. The OOC had made its recommendation in 139 of the pending cases and the cases were ready for the Grievance Committee’s decision. Of the remaining 1,259 files in which no recommendation has yet been made, 272 were more than six months old. In the fourth quarter of 2022, 121 files were dismissed by the Grievance chair or by the Grievance chair and a vice chair.

The realm of Ethics, the Staff Counsel on Ethics responded to 946 ethics inquiries in the last quarter.

The following are on the horizon in new opinions:

  1. Proposed 2023 Formal Ethics Opinion 1:  The Sale or Closure of a Law Practice and Proper Handling of Aged Client Files.  This proposed opinion clarifies a lawyer’s professional responsibility when closing and/or selling a law practice and when handling aged client files.
  2. Proposed 2023 Formal Ethics Opinion 2:  Confidentiality Clause that Restricts a Lawyer’s Right to Practice.  This proposed opinion rules that a confidentiality clause contained in a settlement agreement

that restricts a lawyer’s ability to disclose publicly available information violates Rule 5.6.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any concerns or questions about the State Bar Council or anything else of which I can be of assistance.  Thank you.

Sincerely yours, Anna Hamrick

Retirement Reception for Superior Court Clerk Steve Cogburn

The Buncombe Bar is hosting a retirement reception for Superior Court Clerk Steve Cogburn on Friday, March 24th at 4pm. The reception will be held in the rotunda outside the Clerk’s office in the courthouse, and is open to all Bar members. A photographic portrait of Clerk Cogburn will be unveiled at the reception, and will be displayed in the courthouse afterwards. Please contact Bar Administrator Lisa-Gaye Hall at if you would like to make brief remarks at this event.

Buncombe County Sobriety Court Chosen as Academy Court

The Buncombe County Sobriety Court was chosen as an Academy Court by the National Center for DWI Court (NCDC).

Per NCDC, “NCDC’s Academy Court Network identifies exemplary DWI courts to host foundational trainings, receive staff from other jurisdictions for site visits, play a significant role in participating in research and media, and serve as a national model for DWI courts. The Academy Court Network was developed in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).”

The Sobriety Court Team has diligently worked over the last 9 years to develop policies and procedures that adhere to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) Best Practice Standards for Treatment Courts.  This award is a culmination of years of training and implementing changes/ideas from past Sobriety Court participants.

Congratulations to District Court Judge Julie Kepple, Coordinator Tiffany Graaff, and the entire Sobriety Court Team.