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Justice Burley Mitchell, Jr., was born in Oxford, N.C., in 1940. During high school he joined the U.S. Navy and served four years in the Pacific during World War II as a member of an underwater demolition unit responsible for training other nations’ forces. He then attended N.C. State University for undergraduate and UNC School of Law for his legal education. Soon after graduating he became assistant attorney general for North Carolina and served until 1972. Then he served five years as a district attorney. In 1977 Mitchell was appointed to the N.C. Court of Appeals by Governor Jim Hunt. In 1979 Governor Hunt appointed Mitchell to the position of state secretary of crime control and public safety. In this position Mitchell participated in efforts to strengthen public safety around nuclear power plants. In 1982 Mitchell was appointed to the N.C. Supreme Court bench. In this interview he reflects on some of the cases he managed while in the attorney general’s office including a number of desegregation cases and other constitutional cases and speaks about a few First Amendment cases he heard while a N.C. Supreme Court justice.

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