Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's fixed, so let's break it: Madison County edition.

The Mississippi Way: If it's fixed, let's break it.  Such is the idea behind the bill to split the Rankin-Madison district for District Attorney and Circuit Court.  The current arrangement ensures justice is swift and strict.  The criminal justice system in Madison County is somewhat insulated from the county shenanigans that have taken place under several regimes in Canton.  However, Representative Mark Baker introduced a bill to split the counties. The bill passed the house.


Sections 23-25 of HB #1026 state:

The Twenty-third Circuit Court District shall be Madison County...

 (1)  There shall be two (2) judges for the Twenty-third Circuit Court District...

(2)  For purposes of appointment and election, the two (2) judgeships shall be separate and distinct and denominated for purposes of appointment and election only as "Place One" and "Place Two."

The District Attorney for the 23rd Circuit Court District shall be appointed by the Governor and his term of office shall commence January 1, 2015. Such person appointed by the Governor shall serve as the District Attorney for the 23rd District until a successor is elected at the general election for such office in November 2015.

So Karl, Tim, Paul, John Bell, and their cronies get their own D.A. elected. Nice.  Rankin has been a nice counterbalance to Madison.  This bill fixes that "problem".  Then there is the  matter of costs.  Creating a new criminal justice system will cost money. One source told this correspondent it would probably cost taxpayers over $1 million a year to implement Section 23.  So much for saving money.  The current district probably just needs another judge and prosecutor.  However, the president of the Madison Bar sent out this email today:

As your president, I am writing to let you know that today very important decisions will be made by key legislators concerning the judicial system in Madison County. Those decisions include:
1.       Whether the size of the Eleventh Chancery Court District will be reduced to Madison and Leake Counties only (it is currently Madison, Leake, Yazoo, and Holmes Counties) and whether that district will have two full time chancellors. 
2.       Whether Madison County will have its own Circuit Court district and whether that district will have two judges of its own.

I believe that the citizens of Madison County and the members of the Madison County Bar would greatly benefit from either or both of these measures and that the timely resolution of legal matters would be greatly enhanced as well. I urge you to take a moment and send an email to one or all of the following legislators letting them know your position on reducing the size of the Eleventh Chancery Court District to Madison and Leake Counties and adding a second chancellor to that district, and allowing Madison County to have its own Circuit Court District with two judges. The legislators are:
  The current district already has a fast docket and strong sentences.  Prosecutions last six to eight months from start to finish.  The office is not involved in the infamous political intrigues that are common to Madison County.   Mr. White wishes to strip away that insulation without providing any justification for doing so.

A bill keeping the current district intact passed the Senate.  SB #2474

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

First of all it's not Ms White,Mr. White is a well respected attorney who primarily practices in Chancery Court. As such, he is likely more focused on the desperate need for an additional Chancery Judge as outlined in HB 1026, as trial settings are over a year out in Chancery. He certainly isn't carrying the water for anybody like the BOS or anyone else. I also hear that the criminal docket is rather backed up in circuit too...

Anonymous said...

Madison County Chancery Court does not have a fast docket. It takes almost a year to get an all-day court date. HB 1026, as passed by the House will definitely help Madison County, contrary to the Senate version which left Madison County out all together.

Anonymous said...

You clearly don't practice law in either venue.

The backlog of civil cases is staggering in Madison. Rankin is not as busy but it's busy.

The two circuit judges work tirelessly to keep up.

This is a good idea and the timing is correct.

If your concern is politics (as it appears to be) then that cannot be helped then change our form of government....but don't opine about a topic you know little about.

Anonymous said...

The back log is staggering in both counties, especially Rankin County Chancery Court. This is definitely a problem that needs fixing.

Anonymous said...

Both counties are fortunate to have excellent judges. However they are severely overworked and overwhelmed with the number of cases.
In turn lawyers have a difficult time explaining why it takes so long to get a trial setting.
I can't imagine anyone that practices law in either county being opposed to this.

Anonymous said...

10:03 I beg to differ. The back log in Madison County Chancery Court is much greater than Rankin Chancery Court. It takes much longer to get on the docket in Madison Chancery due to the fact they are sharing time with three other counties.

Anonymous said...

Has Mark Baker pissed off his DA Guest?

How could that be so, Baker is so
warm & fuzzy, with no enemies !!

Anonymous said...

It would appear from the comments preceeding mine that Kingfish has had his opinion-hand slapped on this one. Everything that happens in Madison County cannot automatically be linked to BOS corruption or hatred for the anti-peacock mayor.

If there were 'no justification for it', how does Kingfish suppose it managed to pass the House?

Seems to me if you want to be well informed regarding proposed changes to or rearrangement of criminal justice matters, the people to ask about it would be attorneys familiar with the process, the venue, the flow and the numbers.

Kingfish said...

This post did not discuss chancery.

Everything that happens in Madison County cannot automatically be linked to BOS corruption

Can't it?

Anonymous said...

... that Kingfish has had his opinion-hand slapped ...

By anonymous slappers? Hardly.

Anonymous said...

I just can't believe that Madison and Rankin counties have criminals. I mean, it looks so nice out there. Those pretty French Arcadian homes side by side everywhere. The kids have golf carts and beaches! You guys are pulling my leg. I was trying so hard to work and save to be able to move away from the criminals in Hinds county. Those courts make the same claim. Overworked, underpaid.

Anonymous said...

Au Contraire 6:51. As seen above, it's quite possible for anonymous posters to slap the opinion-hand of the anonymous Kingfish.

Anonymous said...

As a law enforcement officer in Madison County, I can tell you that Michael Guest does not like any agency except for the Rankin Co. S.O.. His main concern is them and no one else, not even the police department's in either county. With that being said I agree 100% that we need seperate Circuit court systems. Madison county having our own Circuit court would be great.

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for 8:15. The Canton folks will be picking your DA soon, then you'll be singing a different tune.

Anonymous said...

Another Judge is needed for Circuit court, no doubt. I do not however, see how you can justify splitting the district with the recurring million dollar cost. HB 585 (prison reform bill) was sold to the Legislature as a cost saving measure. So let's now add more expense? Can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

There are other ways to solve the backlog than they way this bill does it: Add a judge without adding districts. Or simply split Madison and Rankin County into two districts on county lines. But, this bill creates a "tort mecca" in North Madison county. It's the worst of the possible solutions to the problem.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely that these districts need to be split because of the huge case loads. Madison and Rankin share 2 circuit court judges, and they have the case load of 4-5 judges. The counties have become too big for the current court system. As far Michael Guest goes, everything he is saying is political BS! He wants the districts split as bad as Mark Baker, maybe even more. Guest will make the same exact amount of money he does now, but will have half the work load if the district is split. He is acting like he opposes it because he doesn't want to piss off people in Madison County if the bill doesn't pass, because is not nearly as we'll liked there as he is in his home county of Rankin!

Anonymous said...

There is more to a court system than handling felony criminal matters. Civil cases in Rankin and Madison are stalled. Something needs to be done; either splitting the counties or adding judges. No conspiracy here; just a problem in need of a solution.

Anonymous said...

8:30: Are you not aware that the D.A. is voted on county-wide or in the present case two counties (Madison and Rankin)? Why the remark that the City of Canton would be electing a D.A. for Madison County? Are you that uninformed or just trying to be cute? This is a very serious matter for both counties.

Anonymous said...

Lotsa truth in this statement --

"He [Guest] is acting like he opposes it because he doesn't want to piss off people in Madison County if the bill doesn't pass, because is not nearly as we'll liked there as he is in his home county of Rankin!"

Anonymous said...

Its just great how most everybody posting on here ignores the options - but instead decides to opine on the HB that splits the district into two separate entities. The 'companion' Senate bill adds a Judge and additional staff to the DA office, but doesn't create a new district. Baker's bill (House bill) is an ego driven issue that Madison and Rankin are so important they each are 'entitled' to their own district, despite the cost. And all the discussion on the Chancery court docket has nothing to do with the portion of the bills that the post addresses - the Circuit Court.

Frankly, I don't give a damn whether there is a new district or whether its just the addition of a Judge - other than the cost factor which should matter to all of us - which therefore leads to the option that is largely being ignored in most of the comments here.

Anonymous said...

It just make sense that these two fast-growing counties need their own judges.

Anonymous said...

there aren't enough courtrooms for three circuit judges to operate in Madison County; they have two county judges also; so that's five judges and two courtrooms that can have jury trials, one of which used to be infested with mold and mildew.

Anonymous said...

10:28 is right. Addition of judges would be the most cost effective way to address back logs on dockets. That is the best option.

Snake Rodeo Fan said...

Does this mean a split for Grab-U-One Outfitters too?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:28... yours is a post that makes loads of sense. That's rare sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Can they add a couple of public defenders as well or just more DA staff and judges-

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't know why you would need a different District Attorney if the only problem is a backed up civil docket. Add a judge and be done with it. And save tax dollars. What a novel idea.

Anonymous said...

There is no backlog of criminal cases in Madison. It is actually one of the fastest in the State. That being said, give the district another Judge, keep it together and save the money for something that really needs it. Not this.

Anonymous said...

Add me to the "add judges, not districts" chorus.

Chancery *desperately* needs more judges - two more, I'd say, not just one.

Anonymous said...

To 12:23 p.m.
It appears that there is construction going on at the courthouse. At least it has been for several weeks. Could it be that they are adding court rooms to accomodate additional trials, etc.? Even if they don't add courtrooms, those guys don't try cases every single day now. Don't spend the money on the split of the district. And if you do, just add a judge. That makes much more sense than making 2 districts from 1. I thought Madison County was a conservative county. And they want to grow government?

Unknown said...

As an attorney that practices in the district I believe there is a need to split the district. The judges and the DA do a good job trying to manage the criminal docket but it is overwhelming for the criminal and civil docket to move forward.
Additionally there needs to be another Chancellor for both, though the Madison circuit is more overwhelmed. I am waiting over a year for a hearing myself and it is NOT due to the judges not moving cases, but rather the volume in Chancery.
Several attorneys were discussing it in ex parte day in a different jurisdiction and we need another Chancellor in the Madison area at least. Two would be preferable and Rankin also needs at least one to alleviate the burden placed on two Judges that do their best to keep up.
This is no commentary on the politics side of it, just the legal side.

Anonymous said...

There ARE no trials at 'the courthouse' in Canton. You need to find another location to sit and eat boiled peanuts 3:30 p.m.

Probably an addition to store Christmas ornaments.

Anonymous said...

7:05 p.m., There are plenty of trials in the Madison Circuit Court. Check with the Madison County jail and see if there is a problem with overcrowding like they have in other counties. If you know anybody who has been indicted (as I do) in Madison County, you know how quickly a criminal moves through the system and into MDOC supervision or incarceration. In the cases I know about, the bad guy committed the crime and went to trial (yes, trial) within 8 or 9 months. And then went to prison.

Anonymous said...

The question, likely answered by the existence of this bill, how do the sitting judges want to fix the situation?

The Hangman said...

I'm thinking the COURT HOUSE itself is only a shrine. Do they still hold actual trials in that ancient building? If court ROOMS are the problem, they're not that expensive to build compared to the cost to society of NOT having them.

Let's wait awhile and see what John Bell Williams says. He's got his thumb on the pulse of things. Rudy is standing by to do soil substructure samplings.

Kingfish said...

There is no question a need for more Chancellors. Chancery Clerk in Rankin could use some more space as well.

Behind the scenes what is going on is a certain group in Canton ( and I don't mean supervisors) are wanting to rearrange the district. Then one of them, who is a lawyer, wants to get an immediate relative elected to Goree's seat. Same bunch that favors unionizing Nissan. Get a locally-owned judge and let the mischief begin.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone be effective on the bench with a bag of marbles in their mouth?

Be Calm And Carry On said...

Isn't that huge old building vacant, just east of the fire department?

But, really, once again, Kingfish is crying "The Sky is Falling. The negroes are going to have they own judge and all shit will hit the fan!"

Anonymous said...

The district needs to be split. Now is the time to do it because you have two experienced circuit judges, one in Rankin and one in Madison. If you don't split teh district now and simply add a circuit judge, Rankin will be electing all three judges and Madison will have no input. Look at the demographics and oyu will see what I am talking about. Madsion needs a DA. Michael Guest does a great job but he only works in Madison 2 days a week. Madison needs a full time DA. If asked, he will tell you that.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish to address your 10:51 a.m. remark on March 27th.:

There is NO "behind the scenes" issue here. It is simply a need due to a backed up court docket in the Chancery Court. Madison County is scheduling out until early 2015. You can still get a court date in Rankin County Chancery in the current year. This is not a conspiracy theory - it is simply NEED brought about by GROWTH! Nothing more and nothing less!

Anonymous said...

There is NO "behind the scenes" issue here.

How do you know?

Anonymous said...

11:09 - I know because I am a resident of Madison County and I care about what goes on in my area. Therefore, I make it a point to stay informed on matters that make a difference.

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