Thursday, September 22, 2022

Hinds County Gets More Judges

 The Mississippi Supreme Court issued the following statement. 

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph has appointed four special judges to assist the Hinds County Circuit Court in reducing the number of pending cases caused by the pandemic.


            The special Judges are Andrew K. Howorth of Oxford, Betty W. Sanders of Greenwood, Stephen B. Simpson of Gulfport and Frank G. Vollor of Vicksburg.


            “Chief Justice Randolph’s appointments respond to the urgent need to reduce the criminal case backlog in Hinds County,” said Greg Snowden, Director of the Administrative Office of Courts. “The Courts remained open throughout the worst of the pandemic, but crime didn’t take a holiday. Trials were postponed and dockets became congested. The Legislature has provided coronavirus relief funds to assist the Courts, the prosecutors and public defenders, Capital Police, and various other agencies in order to ameliorate the damage caused or exacerbated by COVID,” Snowden said.


            The elected Hinds County Circuit Judges maintain active dockets, and they will continue to bring cases to trial or other final disposition. The aforementioned special judges appointed by the Chief Justice will concentrate on felony criminal cases that are part of the burgeoning regular dockets.

            “Accused people have a right to their day in court, whether they are incarcerated pending trial or out on bond” Director Snowden noted. “If defendants are found guilty, they need to be sent to prison, but if they are found not guilty, they need to be released. Justice is served only when  a final determination is made, one way or the other.”


            Director Snowden commended the many public officials involved in the effort. “The   sitting Hinds County Circuit Judges, the District Attorney’s office and the Public Defender’s office all have come together with the AOC to agree on an action plan, and the Circuit Clerk, the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors will ensure courtroom facilities are available and secure.  And, of course, the appointed special judges deserve thanks for agreeing to accept their appointments.”


            Judge Howorth served for 18 ½ years on the Third Circuit Court. He retired June 30, 2020. The Third  Circuit Court includes Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Lafayette, Marshall, Tippah and Union counties. He is former chairman of the Conference of Circuit Judges and served on the Board of Governors of the Mississippi Judicial College. He is a former member of the State Intervention Courts Advisory Committee.


            Judge Sanders retired in December 2014 after 25 years of judicial service. She served for 20 years as a Circuit Judge of the 4th Circuit District of Leflore, Sunflower and Washington counties. She previously served for five years by appointment as a special magistrate hearing cases filed by prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. She is former chairman of the Conference of Circuit Judges. She served on the State Intervention Courts Advisory Committee and was president of the Mississippi Association of Drug Court Professionals. She served on the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project Board of Directors and as a member of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, the Ethics Committee of the Mississippi Bar and the Bar Complaint Tribunal.


            Judge Simpson served as a circuit judge of the Second Circuit District for eight years. He is former chairman of the Conference of Circuit Judges. He resigned the judgeship in May 2008 to accept appointment by the Governor as Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, where he served for almost three years. Before his appointment to the bench, he served for seven and one-half years as an assistant district attorney in the Second Circuit, which includes Hancock, Harrison and Stone counties. He is former president of the Mississippi Prosecutors Association.


            Judge Vollor served for 20 years as a circuit judge of the Ninth Judicial District, which includes Issaquena, Sharkey and Warren counties. He retired from the bench on May 31, 2009, to return to the private practice of law. He was county prosecutor in Warren County for five and a half years before he took the bench.



Anonymous said...

Justice delayed is justice denied.

Anonymous said...

Why for the need for judges? The cops do not catch many criminals and the ones they do catch beat the cops home.

Anonymous said...

The state legislature better figure out where to house the criminally accused who are denied bail or bail is set beyond their ability to qualify. Legitimate judges will cause this to happen. Where will these jailed thugs be kept? Not Hinds County jail.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog. There is absolutely no pleasing you people.

Anonymous said...

Actually, 5:34, JPD (and now with the added 100 Capitol Police officers) do catch a fair number of the criminals. Yes, they are all over the streets still - thanks to the elected Circuit Judges in Hinds County that seem to think setting them 'free' - out on bail, and oftentimes restricted only to the (wink-wink independent ankle braclet supplier). Check the dockets, particularly that of Judge Wooten for her bail release record; and how many are brough back in several months later by JPD for another arrest.

And, since the legislature provided more money for cops, via making the Capitol Police a real force, and added money for more Assistant DAs (and public defenders) - we need the more judges. We especially need Judges who are not connected to the defendants, or their buddies, that will provide actual justice.

Anonymous said...

This has been done in the past and it didn’t result in fewer people jailed. The Sheriff has hundreds of indictments that can’t be served due to lack of jail space. With the feds taking over jail operations soon, the lack of space is likely to get worse. Unless the vast majority of the accused are willing to plead their case, extra judges will not be able to hold enough trails to make a difference. The Hinds Co. judicial system has been broken for decades. Indifference by those in charge along with the ever increasing rate of crime have made the cost of fixing the system beyond the reach financially of local or state government.
With a murder trial taking both prosecutors and defense attorneys weeks to prepare for and a trial taking another week or so, just clearing out the hundreds of murder cases from the past few years would take years.
Much like the water/sewer system in Jackson, decades of neglect have resulted in a system that will take financial resources coming from the federal government to even began to address the problems.

Anonymous said...

Yay more judges to let criminals out instead of putting them in jail

Anonymous said...

After Socrates builds the new jail things will run much smoother.

Anonymous said...

6:35 - when it was 'done in the past' we have had different results. A decade ago, with the JetJudges, there were many cases heard and judgments rendered. A few years ago, Judge (footnote) Dickinson spent most of his time dismissing cases right and left based on his ruling that they had languished too long.

Granted, RSS aided and abetted this problem by refusing to prosecute many cases, 'losing' the files, saving some so that he could ultimately defend those he was elected to prosecute. But I digress.

This time, the DA has added staff and the PD has added staff. And the Judges are being given the criminal docket rather than the Sr Judge deciding which cases go where. Many things that could make this better. And - if they start holding some of the trials, there might be more incentive for some of the professional criminals to plea rather than continue their jail enterprise of supplying their fellow inmates.

With trials being held - some of those cells will be emptying with their long-term tenants either going north or going home. And some of these criminal defense attorneys will have to get off their duff and actual prepare for trial rather than duplicate/update their last postponement pleadings.

Anonymous said...

Just pray that the appointed Judges are armed during court. Don’t need to come to Hinds County without a gun in your holster unlike our DA. You know Jody Owens, I hope you don’t think the voters in Hinds County are really that stupid! You must have been on some powerful bumble bees to forget your gun and strap on your holster!

I just can’t get that out of my head! SHMFH

Anonymous said...

If you aren’t pleased there are now more judges then sit down & hush. After all the shootings in the last two days that should give you pause.

Anonymous said...

From a Jacksonian, THANK YOU FOR THIS. It's demoralizing to the police in Jackson, Byram, Terry, Raymond, and other Hinds County cities to see all but the most violent arrestees immediately released due to lack of jail space. Those who are caught and released are emboldened, and we see them continuing their crime sprees until they finally badly hurt or kill someone.

I recall when the inmates in the Hinds County jail in Raymond rioted years ago. IIRC, the ringleader was an inmate who'd been sitting in jail for 2 years, waiting for his misdemeanor marijuana charge to be heard in court. He'd literally been forgotten about. I'm sure he'd lost everything he ever had by that point. That's unconscionable but it's what happens when the courts are poorly organized, poorly run... and badly understaffed. This will help.

Again - thanks.

Anonymous said...

Same Greg Snowden that lost his re-election to a newcomer? I only ask because he sure likes seeing his name in print.

Anonymous said...

So did any other county in the state of MS have this problem because of Covid?

Anonymous said...

I have a negative opinion about one of these special judges. Actually I have negative opinions of several judges. If I express it here, do you think I will get out of Hinds County jury duty?

Anonymous said...

Howorth is the best of the best. Grab your popcorn

Anonymous said...

Two sentences in and I’m rolling my eyes.

I read this — Hinds County’s Circuit Court system is backlogged because Jackson and Hinds County were victims of a pandemic.
And I think this — O.B. Curtis collapsed in August 2022 because Jackson was the victim of racism, humidity, rain, colder winters, hotter summers.

I read this — Circuit Court judges, the DA, the PD, and the AOC have come up with a plan.
And I think, oh shit, another plan.

When I read that the judges, the DA, and the PDs have “come together with the AOC to agree to a plan of action,”

Anonymous said...

"The state legislature better figure out where to house the criminally accused who are denied bail or bail is set beyond their ability to qualify. Legitimate judges will cause this to happen. Where will these jailed thugs be kept? Not Hinds County jail."

Wonder if the Merit Health Central facility will be transitioned to a detention center or jail....they're saying it's going to be a psych hospital. Oboy. They'll fill it up either way.

Anonymous said...

:) this is all about saving Jackson from itself. Whether you like it or not the adults have entered the room. Jackson does have the potential to be a great city again for all who want to live and raise a family there. Businesses can flourish, schools can excel and it be a great place to live. There is no magic answer but there must be law and order and a city among other things, must provide safe drinking water for its citizens. Check your politics at the door…

Anonymous said...

Despite the negative comments, this is a very positive development. People convicted here do not have to serve their time here. Facilities in other parts of MS are available.

Anonymous said...

I am glad the adults are trying. Have to try, I suppose.

But mine and others lack of blind fealty and optimism is fair and valid, no matter how upset it makes you.

I can still hope for sane adults to prevail...from a safe distance in a burb that never stopped enforcing laws.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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