Region 8 Judge Sets Precedent in Jackson County

March 25, 2005 – Posted at 4:52 p.m. CST

NEWPORT -- Becoming a judge isn't easy. But becoming the first woman and African-American to sit on the bench in a county that's never seen either is a one-of-a kind experience.

The Honorable Barbara A. Griffin knows that her roots are in Arkansas.

"I grew up here and I think a lot of wonderful things are going on in this part of Arkansas," said Judge Griffin.

She went to college at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and then got her law degree from the University of Arkansas Little Rock. Last year she became a judge, the first for her gender and race in Jackson County.

"It's kind of hard to be in the middle and not take side and just apply the law," said Judge Griffin, "And not let your personal feelings or emotions factor into it."

Judge Griffin attributes her success comes from her hard work that she put in during college and law school, and it's an old habit that doesn't die-hard. These days she sees nearly one hundred and fifty cases per day.

"The people who appear in my court are very respectful," said Judge Griffin, "Like I said, local law enforcement have really been great in helping make the transition. The clerks are wonderful."

And her goal is to make Jackson County a better place to live.

"There are a lot of opportunities for young people in Jackson County and I would like to see them have reason to stay here when they get out of school," said Judge Griffin.

She knows that she's lucky to have the chance to preside.

"I appreciate the opportunity that I've been given and I look forward to serving the people of Jackson County," said the Judge, "You know for as long as they will have me in the position."

Griffin says she's proud to be able to set the precedent for Jackson County.