Public defender announces intention to seek judgeship

Rachel Dove rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

February 11, 2014

By Rachel Dove


WILLIAMSON - With more than 13 years of experience as an attorney, Jonathan “Duke” Jewell has decided to step into the political arena as a candidate for Mingo County circuit judge.

In a recent interview with the Daily News, Jewell released the following statement in support of his candidacy.

“I was born in Washington, D.C., in 1973. My parents are Millard Jewell and the late Dee Anna Hammond Jewell. My dad was in the Army. After he was honorably discharged, my mom and dad brought me back home to Mingo County.

“I grew up with a younger brother, Joey, and sister, Jennifer “Houda” Jewell. I graduated from Williamson High School in 1991 as an honor student and member of the National Honor Society. I played basketball for WHS and in each of my three years of high school, the Wolfpack advanced to the state tournament, winning the AA State Championship in 1989. After high school, I continued my education at, and graduated early from, Brandeis University, where I was a member of the university’s basketball team.

“Outside of the legal field, while growing up, I worked at the Williamson Municipal Swimming Pool and at Disc Jockey at the South Side Mall. In addition, I have worked at Wal-Mart and for the United States Postal Service. I began my legal journey by attending law school at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, graduating and receiving my law degree in 2001. During law school, I was on the Dean’s List and I was a Book Award recipient. While in law school, I was an intern in the Prosecutor’s Office in Kenton, Ohio, and during breaks from school, I returned home to work at the Public Defender Corporation in Williamson.

“I am a licensed attorney in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with approximately 13 years of legal experience. During my career, I have had extensive courtroom, trial and litigation experience in civil, criminal and family law. For the past nine years, I have been an attorney with the Mingo County Public Defender Corporation, located in Williamson.

“As an attorney in a public defender office, I have handled a heavy caseload and have amassed an acquittal rate of 85 percent in felony jury trials. I take great pride in the work I do there and I enjoy helping people. It is also very meaningful to me that I am able to help provide an important public service in the county where I grew up and where my children are growing up now. Being an attorney with a public defender office has reinforced many of the things my parents instilled in me and the things I hope to instill in my children as well, particularly the importance of treating everyone with dignity, courtesy, and respect, the need for, and benefits of, public service, having a good work ethic and doing everything with integrity, all of which are qualities a judge should have.

“I am about to turn 41 years old, and I’ve never been a candidate for any elected office. I am not a politician. I am a concerned citizen. As a concerned citizen, I want to do everything I can to help get Mingo County moving in the right direction.

“As both a citizen and attorney, I know that restoring the public’s faith and trust in the county’s judiciary and our elected officials is of paramount concern. I have always held myself to the highest ethical standards in my career and I have nothing but the best interests of Mingo County at heart. I am running for circuit judge now because I believe I am the person who can best promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of Mingo County’s judiciary.

“As a husband to my wife, Christina, and the father to two young children, Jackson and Samuel, I now have, and for many years to come, I will continue to have a very significant interest in Mingo County.

“In my free time away from work, my No. 1 priority is my family. My wife and I both work full-time, so when we get home, we try to spend as much quality time as possible being active and engaged parents to our two little boys.

“My personal interests and passions include running. I have completed two half-marathons (13.1 miles) in the past and I am currently training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May as well as the local Hatfield-McCoy Half Marathon on June 14.

“I am equally passionate about reading. There is never a time when I am not reading a novel, and I usually have between 10 and 20 others I want to read next. I have read the entire Bible numerous times.”