Bell to seek another term as State Court judge
Grady County State Court Judge Joshua C. Bell announced late last week that he plans to qualify for reelection this week, but as The Messenger went to press Wednesday morning Bell had not inked qualifying papers.
“I believe we have made significant improvements in the efficiency of the court and its day-to-day operations. I know we have saved the county thousands of dollars by simply being more efficient with time, Judge Bell contended.
If reelected, Judge Bell has an aggressive agenda for the next four years.
“I am exploring the possibility of adding a drug court in the coming months to mirror the very successful model that is currently being used in the Superior Court,” Judge Bell said.
Bell took office Jan. 1, 2015. In 2010 he challenged former state court judge John William Bass Sr., but lost by 60 votes. In 2014, Bass did not seek reelection and Bell defeated challengers Jami Lewis and K. Todd Butler.
In addition to his duties with State Court, Bell has served as the judge of Whigham’s Recorders Court since August 2001 and of Cairo Municipal Court since October 2001.
He and his law partner Tabitha Payne established Bell/Payne, LLC and practice law from offices on Broad Avenue in Whigham, where Bell resides.
Prior to opening his own firm in November 2009, Bell practiced with the Bainbridge law firm of Kirbo, Kendrick & Bell from July 2001 until November 2009. He was a partner in the law firm Chason, Willett & Bell from August 1998 until July 2001.
In January 2017, Judge Bell was appointed one of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit’s juvenile judges and he serves on the board of governors for the State Bar of Georgia. The judge is also a member of the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
Judge Bell is a 1989 graduate of Brookwood School in Thomasville. He earned a juris doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law in May 1998. He also earned a master of public administration degree from UGA in June 1995 and a bachelor of arts in criminal justice from UGA in June 1993.
Judge Bell has called Whigham home since he and his parents moved back to Whigham from West Virginia in 1983. He and his wife, Deana, are the parents of Finn, 11, and McCartney, 9, both of whom are currently homeschooled. The two children are avid swimmers and compete regionally with ATAC in Tallahassee, which keeps the Bell family on the move.
“Deana is still the best thing that has ever happened in my life and we will celebrate 20 years of marriage on March 21,” Judge Bell commented.
“I would appreciate the opportunity to continue my service as the judge of Grady County State Court. It has been a distinct honor to serve this community over the last four years and I look forward to continuing my work here,” Judge Bell said.