Guilford County Chief District Court Judge Tom Jarrell, of North Carolina Judicial District 18 (Guilford County), is the recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Judicial Service Award given by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).|
"It's an honor to receive the Judicial Service Award," said Judge Jarrell. "I did not create our DWI court by myself, so I share this award with all the law enforcement officers, prosecutors, clerks, and criminal defense bar for helping organize this court. I would also like to thank AOC Director Marion Warren for giving us the resources to run an additional court in Guilford County."
When appointed as chief district court judge in August 2016, Judge Jarrell saw a need to reduce the backlog of driving while impaired (DWI) cases on the docket in Guilford County. To address this problem, Judge Jarrell advocated for additional resources and revised the court calendar. The result of his effort included funding for an additional district court courtrooom for six months and the creation of a special court dedicated to adjudicating DWI cases. He carefully scheduled the judges and other court staff and clarified their goal: dispose of DWI cases quickly and efficiently while ensuring that justice is served. In addition, he mandated that focus be placed on the oldest cases first.
"Despite this heavy workload, no other individual has worked harder and made more effort to assist in the adjudication of impaired driving cases in Guilford County than has Chief District Court Judge Jarrell," stated a representative from MADD.
When Judge Jarrell began, 4,272 DWI cases were pending on January 1, 2017. Because of his leadership, direction and focus, that number dropped to 2,748 at the end of the six-month special court, which meant 1,524 DWI cases were adjudicated. The success of reducing the administrative burden of so many pending DWI cases means new cases are adjudicated in a more timely manner. Guilford County, second only to Wake County in the number of DWI cases filed, disposed of 1,143 more cases than were filed last fiscal year.
Among other notable accomplishments, Judge Jarrell supported and organized a controlled session for his judges and magistrates in 2017 to see the effects of alcohol and the correlation between the breathalyzer test and impairment. He will be hosting another session this year. Judge Jarrell is President-Elect of the Association of District Court Judges and serves on the Governor's Crime Commission. He serves as the guest speaker for all the Drive Safe classes held in Guilford County, numerous law enforcement trainings, and other speaking engagements. He presents at the Sheriff's Academy in Guilford County and is a member North Carolina Association of District Court Judges. He also is involved in the community's efforts to curb underage drinking. Judge Jarrell continues to assist increasing efficiencies in the processing of DWI cases and reducing fatalities involving impaired driving and making North Carolina roads and highways safer.
About the Award
According to MADD, the Awards of Excellence are not about numbers. These awards are given to an officer, agency, or criminal justice professional who goes above and beyond their job requirements. Nominees are dedicated to and involved with their community, are creative and innovative, must believe in MADD’s mission, and be dedicated to the ideals of law enforcement and criminal justice.