JUVENILE CASES — Justice of the Peace Joseph Guillory II adds to case roster

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Justice of the Peace Joseph Guillory II has made it a point to reach out to youth to celebrate their triumphs and aid them when they go astray.

He’s now added something new to his roster as he is taking over the juvenile cases.

The cases were previously heard by Justice of the Peace Tom Gillam. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended Gillam Sept. 1 for a pending criminal matter, according to the Commission’s website. In August Gillam was indicted the Class A Misdemeanor offense of Official Oppression.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Guillory gave credit to Gillam for his passion for helping youth, saying he was adamant about their safety and well being and wants to continue this.

“I believe prevention and intervention is something all parents in the community need to be involved in,” Guillory said. “Some of our kids need that extra help, and the parents do not necessarily need to be fined for every incident.”

Juvenile cases range from truancy to Class C misdemeanors.

Retired judge Donald Floyd administers the Oath of Office to justices of the peace Joseph Guillory, left, and Ben Collins at the Jefferson County Sub-Courthouse in early 2023. (Monique Batson/The News)

Guillory cites programs such as In His Image and Project Life Change that can help youth get on track.

Diversion programs such as these can be an alternative to paying a fine and adding a financial burden to the parents.

The youth can participate in some type of mediation, dispute resolution, alcohol and drug abuse program or mentoring program and once complete the case can be dismissed, he said.

“We want to do everything we possibly can to help the kids in the community and their parents,” he said. “We want to do everything possible to keep kids in school so they can be a positive contributor to our community.”

Guillory has been working with students in Port Arthur Independent School District, bringing them into the courtroom.

In October he had more than 80 students from Lincoln Fine Arts Academy visit his court and take part in a mock trial and is looking to bring elementary-aged students to the court, as well.

He said PAISD is doing a great job. Guillory is reaching out to local charter schools to see if they would be interested in visiting the court.

Guillory is Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2.