Judge Johnson – A man of many talents

Published 7:00 am Sunday, August 13, 2023

A musician, gardener, hunter, history enthusiast, judge, deacon, husband and father, Lowndes County District Judge Adrian Johnson aims to fully embrace the life God has given him while being a positive influence in his community. 

Originally from Mobile County, Johnson graduated from Citronella High School in 1993. He continued his education at Auburn University, changing his major from Anthropology to Forestry before ultimately deciding on history. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1997. 

“I still have a passion for history,” Johnson said. “I’ve had the opportunity periodically to give tours to people who have visited the Hayneville courthouse from all over the world and talk about the history of Lowndes County, and how that history has impacted not only Alabama, but the nation at large.”

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Johnson finished his coursework for a masters degree in History, but decided to go to law school before finishing his master’s thesis, attending Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham. After Law school, Johnson worked as clerk for the 19th Circuit Judge, John Bush, for a year before taking a job with a law firm in Montgomery. 

Through a friend, Johnson was shown a house and land in Lowndes County. He bought it and still lives there today. 

“This is just where the Lord wanted me to be,” Johnson said. “I’m a firm believer that the Lord has a plan for each one of us, and I can see how he guided me through my life and ultimately led me here to Lowndes County over 20 years ago.”

Johnson practiced law in Montgomery for nine years, before being urged by his predecessor, Terri Bozeman Lovell, to run for District Judge. Johnson said he had not considered the option before then, but has been reelected twice and holds his position with integrity and respect. 

“I have enjoyed every minute of being District Judge,” Johnson said. “We have an opportunity every day to have a positive impact on our community and a positive impact on the people in the county. If you don’t care about the people, and you don’t care about your community, this isn’t your line of work.”

The judge is also a musician, and has played the guitar since he was 14. This talent led him to meet his wife, Mandy, when the pair sang in a bluegrass band together while she was in law school at Auburn University. 

Mandy is currently the Chief Deputy District Attorney for the 19th Circuit. They will celebrate their 14th wedding anniversary this month. The couple still sing together at private functions and at their church, along with their 10 year old daughter, Harper, who attends Lowndes Academy and is very involved in dance, cheerleading and school and church activities. 

Johnson enjoys working in his vegetable garden and carrying on his grandfather’s legacy as a farmer. 

“I enjoy cooking and doing my own canning, pickling, and making my own spaghetti sauce and all sorts of stuff like that,” Johnson said. “I think it’s important to be self-sufficient and know how to grow your own food.”

During turkey season, Johnson can be found in the woods every morning before dawn, enjoying the serenity of nature. 

“I absolutely love it,” Johnson said. “It gives you the opportunity to see the world wake up as the sun is rising during the springtime, it’s really regenerative. You get to see God’s creation and interact with it one on one. There’s a spiritual component to it all, as well as a strategic aspect as you try to lure the turkey, almost like a chess match.”

Johnson is very involved as a member of Hayneville Baptist Church, and just ended his year long term as the Chairman of Deacons.

“God created each one of us, and he sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins personally so that we would have an opportunity to have eternal life with him,” Johnson said. “In recognition of that we have to spend a little time every day with him. Whether it’s in prayer, fellowship, going to a church service, or just living out our faith in the most mundane ways by being kind to people and showing them compassion and that we love them, as Christ loved us.”

Johnson said he is open to wherever God leads him in the future, but for now is content in his role as District Judge for Lowndes County.

“I intend to stay in the judiciary for as long as people will continue to have me,” Johnson said. “I have the opportunity to impact lives in a positive way. It’s been awesome to be able to get to know people and try to help them go in the right direction. We’re blessed to have a really great community.”

Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, Keisha Lee, describes Johnson as a man for the people.

“Judge Johnson is a person who cares about the community,” Lee said. “He loves giving back to the citizens of Lowndes County, and he’s caring to those who are in need.”

As Johnson reflects on all his passions, accomplishments and daily life, his advice is simple:

“Everybody has the same amount of time in a day,” Johnson said. “It’s just about how you’re going to utilize your time. So the question is, what do you value?”