No stranger to the legal system, Joshua C. Bell of Whigham is seeking to become the State Court of Grady County judge.
While studying in Athens, Bell interned with Judge Steve Jones and later became the research assistant for Professor C. Ronald Ellington at the UGA School of Law.
In September 1996, Bell was the law clerk for Hudson, Montgomery and Kalivoda. He also worked as a partner at Chason, Willett & Bell LLP and Kirbo, Kendrick & Bell LLC.
He opened his own practice, The Law Office of Joshua C. Bell LLC, in November 2009, and still works there. From 2004-2009, he was also the assistant Magistrate Court judge of Grady County.
His other positions include being the Municipal Court judge in Pelham, Donalsonville, Climax, Bainbridge and Cairo. He is also the Recorders Court judge in Whigham.
Bell believes the experience he has gained, especially in both Cairo and Whigham over the past 13 years, has prepared him for the State Court post.
“I’m a big believer in efficiency. I’m sure I would do things differently. I want to get clients in and out as quickly as possible, especially since there is a ton of people involved in cases. It’s important to get those people such as the solicitor general, judge, court reporters and judges out quicker and on their way,” Bell said.
Bell wants to use more technology and reduce the amount of paper used in the court system.
He said, “I think the court should continue to strive to eliminate paper. We can file electronically. It needs to be done and not waste our resources.”
Stability in Grady County is something else Bell wants to see. To him, stability can be achieved when the job is being done correctly.
“Many people don’t know I’ve been a judge in Cairo and Whigham for 13 years because my name isn’t in the paper for negative issues. That says a lot about my career. When you’re doing your job right, there isn’t an issue. It should run smoothly and efficiently. Grady County needs this,” said Bell.
According to Bell, his lack of notoriety is an indicator of the type of state court judge he would be.
He said, “I want to serve and do what’s right.”
If Bell is elected, he plans to focus on young people. He wants to make sure those who have broken the law learn their lesson without it following them the rest of their lives.
“I want to provide services to young people that will show them the bad choices they make at a young age can follow them and affect the job they get some day. I want to treat them like they need to be treated. Everyone makes mistakes. Haunting mistakes is something I want to avoid,” said Bell.
Bell explained, “If a kid comes to me in trouble and they have dropped out of school, as part of their sentence, I want them to get their GED and maintain grades. It’s an incentive to do what they need to do to succeed and push them in the right direction. It’s giving them a chance to better themselves.”
Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.