BATON ROUGE — A Southern University
graduate has become the youngest African-American female judge in
Briana Westry-Robinson is the newest district judge in
Wilcox County, according to a report
by KSLA. At the age of 27 in March 2016, she defeated Felecia Pettway
in the Democratic primary by claiming 56 percent of the vote,
according to results posted on Ballotpedia.org. She ran unopposed in
the November general
“Actually achieving my dream of being a judge is
wonderful,” Westry-Robinson told the Louisiana Record.
Westry-Robinson turned 28 two days
after she was sworn in and took the bench on Jan. 26. She will serve
a six-year term, according to KSLA.
decided she wanted to be a judge in the second grade, when a judge
visited her school on career day.
Westry-Robinson was born in
Germany and raised in Camden, Alabama, according to a report
by WSFA. She got her undergraduate in Healthcare Management from
University of Alabama. Westry-Robinson said she had a moment of doubt
about being able to achieve her dream and wanted to make sure she
would be able to get a job with her degree after school.
went to Southern University for her law degree, which she said was
“the best decision I could’ve made.”
through school quickly. She took a year off before attending Southern
University but still started law school at only 21 years old.
always done things on the fast track,” Westry-Robinson said.
school, she owned her own private practice, The Law Offices of Briana
Westry-Robinson. She then became the assistant district attorney for
the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
knows the importance of both her age and her race.
unheard of to be a judge so young, especially since you have to
practice law for three years before becoming a judge,”
In Alabama, someone can serve as district
judge at the age of 18 but had to have a licensed for three years and
have had lived in that district for one year, according to
also hopes to inspire people because she is a young, African-American
“No matter how much people feel we are regressing, I
hope they see me and know that we are progressing,” Westry-Robinson
Southern University Law Center
Chancellor John Pierre told the Louisiana Record
Westry-Robinson is proof that the school is a leading
“We strive for high achievement,”
Pierre said. “We empower young people with skills they can use to
not only better their own lives but to better other people’s
Pierre also sees the importance of a young
African-American making such a great achievement and believes people
will place “the same confidence is her as people placed in Martin
Luther King Jr. in Montgomery.”
“She proved to the people she
was a capable leader at a young age,” Pierre said.
proud of how Westry-Robinson’s achievement reflects on herself and
“She is an example of the quality of student that
comes from historically black colleges,” Pierre said.