A visionary judge makes restorative justice come alive in Alabama
In a six-part video series, Judge McCooey talks passionately about her believe that justice requires much more than the court system provides, especially in the area of giving crime victims the opportunity to meet the offenders, face-to-face, in a safe place, and to do so on a voluntary basis. (If you walk out of here and find someone has stolen your car radio, chances are you don’t have much interest in meeting the thief, she says in one segment. But the more deeply you have been hurt, the more likely you want to meet the offender and ask questions like “why?”.)
As appealing as her speaking style and warmth is her story about the unorthodox path that led her to the bench. Serving as a judge was never in her long-range plans, but when she won her first election against a well-established Montgomery lawyer, surprising herself in the process, she knew there were some new thing she wanted to try. Finding ways of implementing a restorative justice program was among them, and she set about methodically but quietly to make this happen.