Vincent C. Crawford

Vincent C. Crawford.

Occupation: Chief Judge DeKalb County Juvenile Court

Previous elected offices held: None; previously appointed Associate Magistrate Court Judge, Associate Juvenile Court Judge.

Other community service experience: Nu Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity , Inc. (DeKalb Alphas), two terms as curriculum coordinator and a lead mentor for the DeKalb Alphas Mentoring Initiative Program; past advisor and mentor for the “Men of Redan” club at Redan High School; President of the DeKalb Lawyers Association; 2012 Jack & Jill of America community service award; Youth Empowerment (foster care youth) and Department of human services awards; Romae Powell award for work with delinquent youth; several certificates of appreciation from DeKalb County School System for Truancy prevention and DeKalb County Juvenile Court Service award.

What is motivating you to run for this office?

I am motivated to run for Superior Court Judge because I am currently and for the past seven years sit by designation in DeKalb County Superior Court. When designated to sit in Superior Court, I preside and conduct trials as well as hearings in Criminal, Civil and Accountability Courts and Family Law matters.

What is the biggest issue facing the court system and how will you address it?

All court systems are attempting to find alternative ways of resolving legal disputes through mediation or community based programs. As a member of the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform subcommittee, the task currently and ahead for our system is moving towards a system that addresses the “issues” that lead to crime, not just punishment for crime. Although in Juvenile Court for the past 14 years we have always had programs addressing youth delinquent behavior, since the passing of the Criminal Justice Reform Act in 2009, the Superior Court has now moved in the direction of Accountability Courts.

What strengths and weaknesses have the coronavirus pandemic crisis revealed in the court system?

The coronavirus will have a lasting impact on the judicial system’s reliance on technology to administer justice. As the chief judge of Juvenile Court, I had to convert all court personnel to work using technology from home. We will come out of this process as judges learning how technology has shortened a lot of our processes and procedures leading to a more efficient judicial system. On the other hand, the personal connection of people appearing and their voice being heard in court may be the new challenge.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.