Heather Taraska

Firm/Organization: Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office

Practice Areas: Criminal, Juvenile

Education: University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D. 2001; Florida State University, B.S. in Criminology 1995

Bar and Court Admissions: North Carolina State Bar

Professional Involvement: Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office, Assistant District Attorney, 2001 to Present; Supervisor Narcotics Team, 2007-2011; Supervisor Juvenile Team, 2011-Present; Led local inter-agency training sessions for implementation of Raise the Age legislation, signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper, 2019; Implemented Youth Who Cause Sexual Harm Diversion Program, 2017; Represented the State for various offenses, including homicide, robbery, drug trafficking, domestic violence, driving while impaired, gun and sex offenses; Diversity and Inclusion Team Advisor/Community Liaison Team Member/Awards Committee Chair/Intern Committee Co-Chair/State Employees Combined Campaign Auction Committee Co-Chair; North Carolina Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee, 2017 to present; North Carolina Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee, Legislative Revisions and Legal Issues Committee Chair, 2017 to present; Juvenile Crime Prevention Council Member, 2011 to present; Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Funding Committee Chair, 2015-2019; Race Matters for Juvenile Justice Leadership Team, 2014-2019; Race Matters for Juvenile Justice, Legislative Policy Change and Finance Reform Committee Co-Chair, 2016-2019

Civic and Community Involvement: Bar Leadership Institute, Class of 2006; Mecklenburg County Bar Grievance Committee, 2003-2007; State Bar Candidate Interviewer; Leadership Challenge Workshop, 2019; Teen Court Volunteer Judge; NC Leaf Award Recipient; Raise the Age NC, Spectrum News, Capital Tonight, 2017; Drug Interdiction in NC, WFAE, Charlotte Talks, 2009

Please describe why you would be the best candidate for the open judicial position (not to exceed 150 words): I'm running for this election because I've committed my life to public service. For nearly two decades, I have fought for justice in our community through my work as a prosecutor. When I took the prosecutorial oath, I was humbled by the power bestowed upon me. Since then, I have exercised that power with integrity and discernment, and will continue to do so as I serve on the bench. I have over 18 years of experience in the Mecklenburg County court system. I served on the Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee, tasked with developing an implementation plan for Raise the Age legislation, monitoring implementation and providing recommendations to the General Assembly. I have supervised dozens of attorneys and provided mentorship and guidance to them throughout their careers. These accomplishments and the others listed above, illustrate that I am qualified to serve and the best candidate for the position.