Keyser native has two firsts as chief district court judge

Jeannette Brooks Reeves

CUMBERLAND — Jeannette Brooks Reeves, a native of Keyser, West Virginia, recently made history with her judicial appointment in North Carolina.

Reeves is not only the first woman to be named as chief district court judge for Judicial District 27B there, but also is the first Black woman in that position. She will serve Cleveland and Lincoln counties.

North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley appointed Reeves following the retirement of Chief District Court Judge Larry Wilson.

Reeves presided over matters ranging from traffic infractions and custody hearings to first appearances as a judge prior to taking her new post. 

A 1995 graduate of Keyser High School, she graduated summa cum laude in 1999 from West Virginia University and entered law school at WVU that same year. She received her juris doctorate from WVU College of Law in 2004 and passed the West Virginia bar.

Moving to North Carolina, she joined Teddy and Meekins as a paralegal, until passing that state’s bar exam in the summer of 2005 and representing business clients in the area.

It was around 2013 when she had the opportunity to become a judge.

District Court Judge Dina Foster was stepping down and a seat was open. Reeves decided to pursue it.

With the support of her fellow lawyers and Cleveland and Lincoln counties, she was appointed to the court by former Gov. Pat McCrory and started work in December 2013.

The daughter of Marlene Brooks, Shelby, North Carolina, and James Ricardo Brooks, Keyser, she is the granddaughter of Clifton Eugene Brooks Sr., Keyser, the only living Tuskegee Airman in West Virginia. He was a cryptologist during World War II.

A park in Keyser is named for Clifton Brooks Sr. and a sign at the Keyser-McCoole Memorial Bridge welcoming visitors to the city bears his name.

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