Magistrate Majette honored

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 15, 2007

WINTON – In the case of Iris Majette, first appearances can be deceiving.

It’s hard to believe this small, soft-spoken woman doesn’t mind one bit coming face-to-face with people at least twice her size, maybe even bigger, who have just committed a crime.

It’s even harder to believe with her youthful appearance that she is the grandmother of eleven.

But it’s all true.

Last week, Majette was honored for her 15 years of service to Hertford County and the State of North Carolina through her work as a Magistrate. District 6B Chief Judge Al Kwasikpui honored Majette during a brief ceremony just after he opened court on Friday, Oct. 5.

“I love my job,” Majette said following the ceremony. “It’s the most challenging job I’ve ever encountered. It encompasses so much, but it’s a job where you can learn a lot about people and I love interacting with people.”

That love affair came on the heels of two other enjoyable jobs n a paralegal with Legal Service of the Coastal Plain and a stint with the Methodist Home for Children.

The Hertford County native and C.S. Brown High School graduate (Class of 1961) was appointed to the role of a Magistrate by District 6B Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant. Since that time, Majette said she has had the pleasure of working with all phases of law enforcement, adult and juvenile probation, mental health representatives, judges, clerks of court and registers of deeds.

As one of six magistrates in Hertford County, Majette and her cohorts work in 72-hour shifts. She said it’s challenging to be on-call for those long shifts, but the workload was made easier because of those she works with.

“We’re like a small family,” Majette said of herself and the five other Magistrates. “We work really well together.”

She stressed that the key to being a good Magistrate is how you treat others.

“I never look down on anyone,” Majette noted. “I try not to make them feel any worse than they already do. It’s all about treating people with dignity and respect, no matter the circumstances. This is not about me, it’s about getting a job done efficiently and professionally.”

Majette shared a story about an honest criminal.

“Years back there was a person arrested by the Ahoskie Police and I was called to serve in my role as a Magistrate,” she recalled. “The two officers on the case had to answer another call, so they handcuffed the defendant to the table in the squad room.”

She continued, “I was up front talking with the dispatcher while waiting for the officers to return. Low and behold, I looked up and here comes the defendant up front, asking the use the bathroom. He had somehow wiggled free of the handcuffs and could have easily slipped out the back door, but he didn’t. All he wanted was to use the bathroom. When he was finished, he went back to the squad room and waited.”

Married to Joe Majette, Iris is the mother of four adult children and three step-children.

Her education after C.S. Brown included a two-year Executive Secretarial degree from Roanoke-Chowan Community College and two years at the Shaw University CAPE Center where she obtained a Business Management degree.

When asked how much longer she planned on working, Majette closed by saying, “It may end tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. I really don’t know. I will continue to work as long as I can.”

After getting to know Iris Majette, that last sentence isn’t hard to believe.