Judge Wendy S. Hazelton was raised in the close knit and rural community of Indian Woods in the small town of Windsor, NC. In 1975, Judge Hazelton’s family experienced the tragic loss of her brother that sparked an interest in public service. Her family’s emotional impasse from experiencing such a loss and her zest for helping others ignited her passion for the law.
An alumna of North Carolina Central University (NCCU) with experience at the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. and the United States Attorney’s Office in Miami, Florida, Judge Hazelton joined the Public Defender’s Office in Pitt County in 2007. As a dedicated and hardworking Assistant Public Defender, practicing in both District and Superior Courts, she firmly believed in the words of the Constitution when it states, “in all criminal cases the accused shall have the assistance of counsel for his defense”. As a result, she was a staunch advocate for her clients, always seeking the best outcome permissible under the law by any legal and ethical means necessary.
In her pursuit of wanting to continue to bring positive change to those in the criminal justice system, Judge Hazelton was elected as District Court Judge for Pitt County in November 2016, becoming the first African American Judge in Pitt County’s 259 years.
As a District Court Judge, Judge Hazelton presides over family law cases, criminal cases, juvenile cases, domestic cases and civil cases; and this is just a small portion of what her job entails. Judge Hazelton is a strong woman of faith and believes firmly in Deuteronomy 31:6 as it states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Inside the courtroom, Judge Hazelton does more than addresses the “what;” being the charge at hand, but she also addresses the “why” with the hope of putting someone in a position as to not repeat the very scenario that brought them to court in the first place.
One of the most powerful rewards Judge Hazelton has received in this position happens outside of the courtroom. Judge Hazelton thoroughly enjoys the various opportunities to speak to and engage with young people all over Pitt and the surrounding counties, as she encourages them to reach beyond the stars as they seek to fulfill their goals and dreams.
Judge Hazelton lives in Winterville with her husband, Eric, and they have two children.