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Our viewing area is getting a new judge with some significant tax issues. On Friday, Sherry Dew Tyler will be sworn in as judge for the 13th Judicial District, presiding over Bladen, Brunswick, and Columbus counties. She was appointed by Governor Bev Perdue, and already has some vocal fans, and critics. Sherry Dew Tyler was born and raised in Tabor City. She got her bachelor’s degree from UNC-Pembroke, and her law degree from Campbell University. For the last 21 years, she's been a law partner of Senator RC Soles. "I am delighted that she is going to be a judge. She'll make an outstanding judge, and she truly looks forward to serving as judge. At the same time, I’m sad and disappointed that she'll be leaving our law office,” Senator Soles said. During her years as an attorney, Tyler has handled everything from minor traffic offenses to major criminal cases, as well as personal injury claims and civil matters. But her record isn't without blemish. When Governor Perdue chose her for the judgeship, Tyler had a huge overdue tax bill. With interest included, she owed the federal government about $76,000 in back income taxes. "I had a federal tax lien. It's been a matter of public record for a period of time. My plan had been to take care of that. It was the right thing to do before I was being considered as a district court judge,” Tyler said. When we caught up with Ms. Tyler outside the courthouse Wednesday afternoon, she told us she had just paid her overdue tax bill in full. But that wasn't enough to silence her critics. "I don't think she would have paid it unless she was forced to do it,” said Dorris Strickland, a Columbus County resident. Sherry Tyler was one of several attorneys nominated by the local bar association for the judgeship, and Governor Perdue chose her from the nominees. The governor said she was aware of Ms. Tylers' tax problems, and had been assured they would be resolved before she was sworn in.

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