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Civic and Community Service make a variable difference in our Society

by PRIDE Newsdesk

Judge Rachel Bell

Judge Rachel Bell

Just as policemen/women are sworn to protect and serve, our professionals and elected officials also have a responsibility to the community at large.

Judges and physicians each take a special oath. Being sworn in under the sight of God these individuals have the commitment to serve their constituents and serve them well.

Take Judge Rachel Bell for instance, she does a stellar job of balancing her judicial duties. She is fully committed to the people, whom she serves on and off the bench. In 2012, she was elected winning over 65% of the vote from her Davidson County constituents.

She ran for re-election in 2014 and won by a landslide receiving over 72% of the vote over her opponent.

In light of all the good that this dedicated, hard working public servant has done thus far, she has been under vicious attacks concerning her health, her service as a community leader and her management of the courtroom. Judge Bell’s courtroom dockets run on time each and every day allowing time for settlement and discussion before she takes the bench despite accommodations for her type 1 diabetes and thyroid condition in compliance with the American Disability Association (ADA).

“All cases on the docket are concluded and resolved each day unless continued by agreement,” said Judge Bell.

The same year Bell was elected to the bench, she immediately started working on piloting several community initiatives focused on preventive and diversionary justice.

“Justice does not stop at the courthouse steps,” said Bell.

She is committed to doing all she can to help break the playground-to-prison-pipeline and restore/rehabilitate lives, saying: “This is true justice reform.”

In 2012, the General Sessions Court, Division VIII, that Judge Bell presides over launched its first community court preventive justice program allowing MNPS students to intern during their school breaks. In 2013, Bell adopted a portion of Clarksville Highway (41A) so as to launch the first Saturday one-stop community service return docket for offenders and community partners.

Continuing the initiatives already in place in 2012, in 2015, Bell launched the annual North Nashville Community Day Expungement Clinic at New Covenant Christian Church.

In 2016, Bell named the community court, the General Sessions Music City Community Court, Division VIII, and partnered with the Tenn. Faith & Justice Alliance, a project of the Tenn. Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission. This year, the General Sessions Music City Community Court has hosted Saturday, Pro Se Indigency Dockets and Expungement Clinics at The Village Church and New Covenant Christian Church drawing more than 250 persons each clinic.

This weekend, Saturday, October 1, the General Sessions Music City Community Court will host is next Pro Se Indigency Docket and Expungement Clinic at Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1415 Horton Ave., Nashville, Tenn. 37212, from 9 am-2 pm. Registration is from 9-10 am. The clinic is from 10 am-2 pm. October is Pro Bono Month, and Bell has partnered with several lawyers to assist with providing free legal services to those in need of rehabilitating and restoring their lives—and also potentially declaring offenders indigent and waiving court cost and fines, thereby allowing expungement paperwork to be processed.

Community Partners include: Howard Gentry and the Davidson County Criminal Court Clerks Office; the Tenn. Bar Association- Young Lawyers Division; the Lawyers Association for Women-Diversity Committee; the Napier Looby Bar Association; and the Tenn. Faith & Justice Alliance.

During this challenging time, Judge Bell assures her constituents she is completely focused on serving on the bench, running her courtroom efficiently and effectively while taking her responsibilities seriously. She further thanks her supporters for standing beside her, with her and praying for her. Judge Bell says she appreciates the moral support rallying around her.

In spite of the alleged mayhem, Judge Rachel remains fully committed to providing access to justice for all.

Rev. Dr. Judy D. Cummings said: “I support and stand with Judge Rachel Bell along with several other community leaders and constituents. She was elected by the people for the people and through the grace of God and prayers of the righteous, we want our community judge, Judge Rachel L. Bell, to hold her head up, to continue serving our community and stay strong during this attack to her character and reputation.”

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