11/05/08 — Jones replaces Braswell

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Jones replaces Braswell

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 5, 2008 1:46 PM


Arnold Jones will serve as Superior Court judge after defeating incumbent Judge Jerry Braswell.

Thirty-four years ago, Arnold O. Jones won a seat on the District Court bench by 17 votes.

Tuesday, his son and namesake defeated Superior Court incumbent Jerry Braswell by thousands more.

Before all 30 precincts made it official -- 26,167 votes for Jones to Braswell's 17,400 -- Braswell had held the post for 10 years.

So when Jones got the news, he was "humbled."

"I take it as a responsibility," he said.

Much had been said during the race about Jones' lack of experience.

"The race wasn't about experience. The race was about, 'Are you satisfied with what you have?'" the judge-elect responded. "But even so, I feel like I am as prepared as I can be."

Law has been his life for nearly two decades, he said.

And, he added, his values, temperament and character make him well suited for a spot on the bench, and the right man to bring the changes to the court that he believes many in Wayne County wanted.

"There are a lot of people all over the county who have been supporting me through this entire process because they wanted change in our Superior Court. They know that I'm going to do things fairly and honorably, and that's what this whole campaign has been about, and that's what it will be about when I'm on the bench."

So Jones scoffs at the notion that he isn't experienced enough for the job he will likely start in January 2009.

"I'm ready to go," he said.

But there was a time when he was less confident.

It was September 2000.

Jones' father had only been a Superior Court judge for two years when a lung cancer diagnosis prompted his resignation.

"A lot of people, then, wanted me to run for the job," Jones said. "But back then, I didn't have the experience. And I feel like if you're going to do a job, you should be able to do it right."

Just one of the lessons, he said, passed down from his father.

And many of the others will serve him well in the years to come.

"When you look at my father ... he did things for the right reasons," Jones said. "He always said, 'You're not in this for pats on the back. You're in this to do the right thing."

So as he prepares to take the bench, he will take those lessons with him, knowing that part of what will define Arnold O. Jones II is a man familiar to Wayne courts.

"We're excited. I have always been Arnold O. Jones II. I have always tried to live up to that name," he said. "I can promise you, I'll really work hard to live up to it now."

And that work, he added, will begin immediately -- closing out his law office, and then meeting with law enforcement officers, as well as the new chief District Court Judge David Brantley and Clerk of Court Pam Minchew to begin discussing how the court can be improved.

"I plan on doing all of that fairly soon," Jones said.

Calls to Braswell were not returned by press time.