02/17/08 — Braswell seeking re-election as Superior Court judge

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Braswell seeking re-election as Superior Court judge

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 17, 2008 2:07 AM

With 10 years on the bench already behind him, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell (District 8B) is hoping to add another eight.

"I am seeking re-election because I believe that my nearly 10 years of experience as a Superior Court judge has qualified me to continue the administration of fair but firm justice in our court system," he said.

He will battle challenger Arnold Jones II this fall.

Braswell, 55, spent more than 25 years in the legal profession as an attorney in private practice before coming a judge. Also prior to being tapped for the bench, he spent seven years in the state House and four as a Wayne County Commissioner.

Then, in 1998, he was appointed by the governor to be a special Superior Court judge before being elected in 2000.

"I think I'm the most qualified candidate for this position. I'm the only candidate that has any Superior Court experience," he said. "I'm the candidate most prepared to do the job and my record during the last eight years demonstrates my ability to do this job and do it well.

"Why fix something that's not broken? We will certainly continue doing the things we realize are working and working well."

His job, he explained, is basically to oversee the administration of the Wayne County Courthouse -- the scheduling of cases and the assignment of judges.

"I'm the highest ranking official in the court system and my primary responsibility is to ensure that justice is being administered appropriately," he said.

And, he continued, he feels like he has done a good job, holding up the fact that his court is currently ranked No. 1 in the state in the disposition of criminal cases and consistently in the top five in the disposition of civil cases.

Of particular pride, he acknowledged, is the improvement on the criminal end -- a feat accomplished with the help of the district attorney's office.

He explained that after the offices re-organized the court's administrative week, they began using that monthly time to process more than 100 probation cases, to prepare a felony calendar and review, to evaluate and schedule all pending murder cases.

Additionally, with the help of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Braswell said the court has created and implemented pre-trial release and court liaison positions that have managed to save the county more than $300,000 by monitoring and reducing the jail population.

"When we can bring lawyers and clients together, something good typically happens," he said. "Not just are we saving the county a lot of money, but we're also helping to dispose of cases more quickly."

But he is not just worried about what's happening inside the court system, he has also been working with the county's Day Reporting Center to help provide GED and job training programs, primarily to those people either awaiting trial or out on probation.

"The reason I have an interest in doing that is because what happens in our system is, it's a revolving door," he said. "We're looking at the whole man concept -- not only to punish the man, but also that a man will commit that crime again unless something is done to alter that behavior."