Archived Story

Thorsby’s new judge has big ideas for town

Published 5:46pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Of more interest to town residents might be Baxley’s plan to institute a pre-trial diversion program.

“We had a lot of cases that were being appealed to the circuit court level, and when cases are appealed to the circuit court level, the town loses money,” Baxley said. “The appeals process is there for people when they have a genuine issue with a ruling, but we don’t want people appealing arbitrarily.

“The goal is to keep our cases here in the town.”

The program would target first-time offenders and make available avenues including counseling, drug and alcohol monitoring and community service, in addition to court costs paid to the town.

Once the pre-trial program is completed, the charge would be dismissed.

“There is some stigma that comes along with having a DUI on your record,” Baxley said. “This is for people that just need a second chance. If they were found guilty, they’d have to do these things anyway.”

Baxley is also working with Police Chief Rodney Barnett to set up a driving school to be used by traffic violators.

“My goal would be to, at least, have driving school available every other month,” she said. “It would be only for traffic citations. It would save people from having their insurance rates go up; also, youths could go through because there can be some insurance breaks related to that.”

Baxley has municipal court experience. In addition to her work with District Attorney Randall Houston’s office, she has served as a special prosecutor for the city of Clanton and as a public defender in the city of Jemison.

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