Charlotte judge resigns unexpectedly from Mecklenburg County District Court

Yolanda Trotman
Yolanda Trotman Charlotte Observer file photo

Mecklenburg County District Court Judge Yolanda Trotman is resigning effective Dec. 31 after just two years on the bench.

“This is not a decision I made lightly, nor is it a decision that is sudden,” Trotman said Friday on Facebook. “But opportunities have presented themselves that are just too exciting for me to decline.”

She said she will resume her private law practice and devote more time to “her baby,” her iSpeak Now effort in schools, and to developing a second non-profit to address “four key areas” that, as a judge, she noticed “a lack of access to or complete lack of access to.” She did not specify the areas but said she could not address the issues as a judge.

“I have said judges are effective if they are not 9-to-5 judges, that judges must be connected to the communities that they serve, and I still believe that,” Trotman said. “But I believe I can and will be more effective by stepping away from the bench and dedicating more energy to causes that deeply and specifically impact this community in meaningful ways.

“Simply put, I have to do what nourishes my soul,” Trotman said. “This is not an end, but very much so the beginning.”

Trotman defeated incumbent Theo Nixon in 2014. Both are Democrats. Her current salary is listed as $116,710.

Trotman criticized Nixon during the campaign, saying she “was troubled by the way people were treated” in Nixon’s courtroom.

Asked Friday to comment on Trotman’s resignation, Nixon said in an email reply to the Observer: “My mother always told me if I can’t speak kindly about someone, I should not speak at all. Consequently, no comment.”

Trotman is a former history, debate and speech teacher at North Mecklenburg High who ran her own law firm focusing on criminal defense and family law for nine years.As a judge, she has presided over criminal, civil and domestic violence courts and currently family court.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak