KENTLAND — For nearly three decades, Mary Madison had seen it all in the Newton County Superior Courtroom, and this past Friday she said goodbye to the court and one of her loves— the love of law.
“Working here has been an extremely enjoyable experience for me,” said Madison, who retired as Newton County Superior court reporter March 20. “I love the law and always wanted to be an attorney.”
Being an attorney and a judge are actually the only two aspects of the court that Madison doesn’t have experience in.
“When I was working in the Welfare Department Joe Faulk came to me and said Judge (Daniel) Molter is looking for a bailiff and that I should apply,” added Madison. “It would get me back working with the law, which he knew I loved. When I was hired as a bailiff, I was the only person from the north end of the county working at the courthouse at that time. I thought that was funny. I was the only Spartan and they were all Rebels.”
Madison only worked as a bailiff for a few months before taking on the court administrator position once there was a vacancy there. She worked as the administrator from March 1993 to 1995 when she took over as court reporter,
“I have been here ever since,” said Madison. “I have done all facets of the court.”
“Now I just need to sit on the bench,” Madison joked.
Madison credits her time served to the community with the stellar working atmosphere of the Superior Court and her great working relationship with Judge Molter.
“We work so well together,” Madison said of her and Molter. “We have a great partnership. We learned to think on the same page over the years. We just click. With me leaving, of course, I will worry about him because we have worked together for so long. He has been wonderful to me and my family. He has always been great to my children. When Diane (Whaley) was here, we worked so well as a team. She was here for 20-plus years and we had everything down to a science.”
Over the years Madison has seen a number of changes in the court system and in personnel.
“For the criminal court, the best years have been since Jeff Drinski has taken over as prosecutor,” said Madison. “He has a great legal mind, and he is always kind and never disparaging to the defendant. In my opinion, he is a great prosecutor and he makes it so easy for the courts here.”
As court reporter, Madison has sat through countless numbers of hearings and trials, but some cases stick out in her mind more than others – especially one tragic accident.
“So many of our recent murders have been because of drugs,” said Madison. “But the one case that will always be in my mind had to deal with a couple going to pick up their adult son from the airport. Their vehicle was hit from behind and spun into the other lane. The wife who was in the passenger seat was thrown from the car and was ran over by a semi. When the son was able to get back to the area he sees the car on the back of a flatbed. This happened in 1994 I believe and to this day I still remember that case vividly. Every time I go by the site of the accident, I think of that mother. The memories of that case will live with me forever. That family was just devastated.”
Madison added that as a court reporter there are a lot of emotionally trying cases, but at the end of the day she would do her best not to bring that home with her.
“That is why my husband (Ronnie) is so amazing,” said Madison. “He stood by me all these years. The court reporter is definitely not a job for everyone, it can be emotionally draining, and there is so much more to it than just being a recorder. For me, it has never just been a job. It’s been a part of my life. I will miss it, but I’m really excited to be able to spend more time with my husband and my family. It is time for me to regroup with my family, my children, and grandchildren.”
Ronnie and Mary Madison have three children, six grandchildren and reside in Lake Village.