By Othor Cain,
We’ve all heard the phrase, “the third time is the charm.” Joanna Archie is banking on the second time being the charm in her quest to become Justice Court Judge for District 4.
A product of the Jackson Public School District, Archie is better prepared this time around than she was in 2015. “I’ve learned a lot since then, I’ve visited with families, I’ve talked to inmates and I know without a doubt, we can do better by all people,” Archie said. “It really is about getting to know individuals and trying to help them.”
An Alabama State University graduate, Archie has seven years of law enforcement experience with the Jackson Police Department under her belt. After college, she returned to her native Jackson in 2001 and became a certified law enforcement officer. After her time with JPD, she moved over to the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), as a parole /probation officer.
“My passion has always been to provide safety and a feeling of security to our citizens while helping reform or punish those that have chosen not to uphold the laws,” she shared. “During my tenure as a certified police officer and parole/probation officer I handled and sometimes arrested people on misdemeanors, as well as, felony charges. I’ve served warrants and have worked inside prisons and jails when riots have broken out. I have been inside almost every prison, county and city jail in the state of Mississippi…I’m the only experienced candidate in this race.”
Archie said her experience with inmates has shown her what inmates and their families are seeking from the judicial system. “I think we have to understand when we are sitting on the bench that our decisions not only affect those standing before us but the many lives of family members and victims,” she said.
Having sat in on parole hearings, listening to offenders’ humble pleas about not going back to prison, Archie says, “We can not arrest our way out of the problems we are experiencing. I also believe that locking everybody up that appears in a courtroom isn’t the answer either.”
Archie believes in rehabilitation and offering help within the confines of the law. “Please make no mistake about it, if a person is a habitual offender and shows no remorse, the law deals with that…but most people that appear in Justice Court are folk looking for and in need of help…I want to help,” she said.
Passion and purpose are two traits Archie has embraced. “I have heard and accepted my calling and I want to walk in my purpose,” she said. “I’m doing this to help. I know the system…I know the law…I know the options available…I want to put my experience into action,” she said. “People are looking for someone they can trust and that person is me.”
Justice Court judges deal primarily with civil cases and some criminal misdemeanor cases. These judges can also conduct preliminary hearings and bond hearings on felony cases.
To the notion of bonds, Archie believes the public must understand how the process work. Judges are bound by the law to set bonds. She also understand alternatives. “What I’ve learned in my career is that sometimes offenders are released depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and their support system (s) at home,” Archie said. “There are a lot of other alternatives that I have hands-on used to rehabilitate an offender. I have had to counsel, encourage and assure these offenders that if they want help from the system they have to desire it.”
The election will be held August 4. District 4 includes portions of Jackson, Byram, Clinton, Raymond, Bolton and Edwards.