DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - A well-known Albany defense attorney will be on the bench Monday as the new Associate Juvenile Justice Judge in the Dougherty judicial circuit.
Johnnie Graham said she is taking the judgeship because of her desire to make the community safer and better.
Graham is cleaning out her law practice office, ready to move to the courthouse to become the new associate juvenile judge.
She said her own clients she defended made her decision to make the change.
"I deal with major crimes. Major felonies. My clients are getting younger and younger. And that says to me at some point the system is failing to either reach these young people and turn them around. Or they slip through the cracks. Or they don't have a solution," said Graham.
This will be Graham's first time as judge, but she has worked just about every other justice job.
She was a prosecutor for both the state and federal courts and also worked in law firms and her own private attorney practice.
She thinks that experience will help her as a judge.
"The concept of justice requires that the person dispensing it be fair, be knowledgeable, be empathetic, be reasonable. And that's how I describe myself," said Graham.
Juvenile crime in Albany is a problem.
Graham said she sees the elderly, disabled, and other people in Albany concerned, even afraid of crime and criminals, and she wants to be part of that solution.
"Those people are what I call vulnerable victims," said Graham. "And we don't want that. We want everybody in Albany to feel safe. We want our communities to be safe."
Johnnie Graham will take over the bench as associate juvenile judge Monday.
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