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Circuit Judge Debra Jones hopes to bring ‘new perspective’ to state’s highest court

Debra Jones announces candidacy

Circuit Judge Debra Jones made her first public appearance as an Alabama Supreme Court candidate Wednesday morning on the steps of the Calhoun County Courthouse.

Circuit Judge Debra Jones made her first public appearance as an Alabama Supreme Court candidate Wednesday morning on the steps of the Calhoun County Courthouse.

As she spoke outside the courthouse, other judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement and courthouse staff stood behind her. Jones sent a news release announcing her candidacy earlier this week.

According to Jones, only two current judges on the state’s highest court are trial judges. As a trial judge, she said, she would bring a different perspective. 

“The Supreme Court judges sit in judgment of the trial judges,” she said. “What we do, every day, day in and day out, is important, and judicial experience matters.”

Jones said she didn’t initially plan to run for the Supreme Court, especially since her Circuit Judge seat is up for election next year, but she changed her mind after people reached out and asked her to.

Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade, who introduced Jones, said he’d always known her to “follow the rule of law.”

“She’s always been one to stand up against anything that’s not righteous, anything that’s against what our laws say,” he said.

Throughout her legal career, Jones said, she has handled more than 100 jury trials. She has served two terms as circuit judge and worked at the Seventh Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney’s Office since the age of 26.

Vickey Davis, pastor of New Hope Ministries in Oxford where Jones is a member, said Jones would make a “righteous judge” and called her a “great woman of integrity.”

“She’s stepping out on such faith to resign from this position and believing in the seat of judge in the Supreme Court,” Davis said.

Jones ran for the office in 2012 and 2018. During the last election, she said, she lost by only 10,000 votes, or 2 percent of the vote, to an opponent who made it into the primary election. And she did it with only 5 percent of the funding her opponent had, she said.

“I believe we’re going to cross the finish line,” she said. 

The primary election is set for May 24, 2022. But because of redistricting that will follow the delayed release of the 2020 census results, Jones said, she expects it will be pushed back to June or July of that year.

Contact Staff Writer Mia Kortright at 256-235-3563 or akortrig@gmail.com.