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lamarrebel
09-07-2006, 09:43 PM
I have often been critical of the Justice Court system in Mississippi and have created several threads as of late regarding the lack of qualifications required to be elected a Justice Court Judge in this state and have linked several Supreme Court decisions sanctioning Justice Court Judges.

Right now, the law requires that in order to serve as a Justice Court Judge, one must 1) Have a GED 2) Be a qualifed elector in the district you are running (be 18 and registered to vote) and 3) shake enough hands to get elected. Once elected, a Judge must attend 36 hours (4.5 days) of Judicial College their first year in office and 2 days/16 hours each year thereafter. This compares to the requirement that attorneys have a 4 year undergraduate degree, graduate from law school and pass the bar exam in order to practice before these courts.

Should the Legislature change these ridiculously low requirements? How far should these reforms go?

carsalesguy
09-07-2006, 10:48 PM
didn't know i could be a judge.....i'm running for judge then

wilebill
09-07-2006, 11:29 PM
I really like the way you skew the polling by using the term buffoon in the first option.

wilebill
09-07-2006, 11:51 PM
The buffoons are leading.

Guest_
09-08-2006, 12:04 AM
I think we should REQUIRE buffoons with GEDs to run.

wilebill
09-08-2006, 12:09 AM
If we disqualify buffoons, that would leave out a lot of lawyers.

Astra
09-08-2006, 08:03 AM
Out of curiousity (realizing my school board had 3 out of 5 members that never even graduated high school), I looked into voting regulations back when I was 17 or so. I could have legally run for the school board or for county coroner. Kind of scary that a coroner isn't required to have any medical experience whatsoever.

lamarrebel
09-08-2006, 10:10 AM
Let me put it this way: over eighty percent of the sanctions handed down by Judicial Performance are handed down against Justice Court Judges. There have been cases of Justice Court Judges attempting to dismiss felony criminal cases even after the grand jury has handed down indictments. Most of the Judges in office mean well, but they simply lack the knowledge and training required to be a Judge. Setting bond in felony initial appearances is serious business. Resisting the urge to pass your friends speeding tickets to the file matters as well. The Clarion Ledger has also written editorials in the past calling on the Legislature to raise the requirements to be a Justice Court Judge writing, "It is an affront to justice that the only requirements needed to be a Justice Court Judge is to have a general equivalency diploma and the ability to shake enough hands get elected." I couldn't say it better, and given the opportunity reform in this area is something I will strongly support.

R1ZOOM
09-08-2006, 01:02 PM
I voted for college degree, although I am actually more in support of a law degree. As had been noted before though, there are small counties where this might be impossible. In a perfect world all judges would have law degrees and "X" number of years practicing to even qualify. Unfortuntaley, that's unrealistic, so I think college degree is a good median. I'm not saying a degree makes one individual any more intelligent than another, but I think the work required in obtaining a bachelor's degree does expose the degree holder to a lot more reasoning and research skills which are crucial to have as a judge. I would be in support of legislation to require higher education in order to qualify as long as it grandfathered in the judges who already hold office, as I don't think it's fair to disqualify someone from a position simply because the rules changed. If they met the requirements at the time they were originally elected they should be allowed to run for re-election.

On another note, I think there are other county elected positions that should require higher qualification levels. The first two that come to mind are coroner and constable. There should be a minimum medical certification required in order to run for coroner, maybe not a MD, but at least a nurse with a certain number of years ofE.R. experience or P.A. I also think constables should be required to have a law enforcement academy certification from the state in order to qualify to run for office. The 2 week 80 hour school is simply not enough to train people with no law enforcement experience to be full-time capable law enforcement officers, and a lot of the time these undertrained guys don't know the law or how to conduct themselves as officers and make the constables with prior law enforcement training and experience look bad, and there is an issue of officer safety as well.

58ford
09-08-2006, 01:26 PM
Anything done to limit Lawyers in govt. is a positive thing.
There are too many lawyers out there already.

r13
09-08-2006, 08:09 PM
I voted for being appointed by a Circuit Court Judge. Any time you have elections, that position is going to be political. Not to say it wouldn't be if they were appointed, but there wouldn't be as much politics involved.

Also, I heard Mcphail made a rough showing at the Justice Court convention this week. I heard when he arrived and walked in, the organizers actually thought he was someone off the street and started to refuse him access. He had a dirty shirt on and his hair was messed up (as usual). He had to tell them he was a Lamar County Judge!!!!!

That's embarrassing.

daisy
09-10-2006, 08:36 PM
How did McPhail get elected and who has he run against? Was he less rough-looking or acting at one time? He just had a dazed appearance on the TV about his pool or a look of unconcern for the neighbors fears @ mosquitoes hatching in his swimming pool?

Also, was he the judge that required 1st time shoplifting offenders wear the signs saying that they were shoplifters at wal-Mart on 98?

lamarrebel
09-10-2006, 09:06 PM
He has had a somewhat unkempt appearance for as long as I've known him, but it has seemed to have gotten worse since the 2003 election. Last time he defeated four candidates in the Republican primary (Jeff Graves, Jennifer Mcvey, Jay Yarbrough, and Leo Wontorcik) and Rickey Lee, a Democrat, in the general election. Jeff Graves, who has almost a Shawn O'Hara history of running and losing in local elections, took McPhail to a run-off in the primary and got about 40 percent and Lee, an African American candidate took 40 percent against McPhail in the general election. Demographically the district votes very heavily Republican and is only about 12 percent BVAP. Thus, there is a very sizable anti-McPhail vote, which I believe has grown exponentially since the last election because of his Judicial Performance and health code violation problems.

I believe the reason McPhail hasn't been defeated before now has been the fact that no attorneys or candidates with significant legal training have challenged McPhail in the past. I believe that when voters have a choice between someone who doesn't have prior legal training but years of judicial experiences and candidates who have neither training nor judicial experience, they are disproportionately inclined to re-elect. That's how many of these Justice Court Judges keep going into office.

wilebill
09-14-2006, 09:00 PM
Vote for the buffoons, the lawyers are leading! (I know, same thing, but still...)

MDollfus46
09-15-2006, 10:22 AM
I have often been critical of the Justice Court system in Mississippi and have created several threads as of late regarding the lack of qualifications required to be elected a Justice Court Judge in this state and have linked several Supreme Court decisions sanctioning Justice Court Judges.

Right now, the law requires that in order to serve as a Justice Court Judge, one must 1) Have a GED 2) Be a qualifed elector in the district you are running (be 18 and registered to vote) and 3) shake enough hands to get elected. Once elected, a Judge must attend 36 hours (4.5 days) of Judicial College their first year in office and 2 days/16 hours each year thereafter. This compares to the requirement that attorneys have a 4 year undergraduate degree, graduate from law school and pass the bar exam in order to practice before these courts.

Should the Legislature change these ridiculously low requirements? How far should these reforms go?

Is a "Justice Court" similar to a Chancery Court. traffic tickets and the like?

MDollfus46
09-15-2006, 10:28 AM
Out of curiousity (realizing my school board had 3 out of 5 members that never even graduated high school), I looked into voting regulations back when I was 17 or so. I could have legally run for the school board or for county coroner. Kind of scary that a coroner isn't required to have any medical experience whatsoever.

Yep. And he/she is elected? That gets a big gufaw!! They don't even have to know where to check a pulse. Most of the time a coroner will get really bent if you wake him/her up in the middle of the night to declare someone dead.

the truth
09-15-2006, 11:34 AM
Noble effort, hub--but The Truth seems to remember some years back, the Miss. congress trying to increase justice judge qualifications, and learning that the Justice Court Judge Lobby was so strong and created such an uproar that representatives dropped it like a hot potato. THE TRUTH

Astra
09-15-2006, 12:51 PM
Yep. And he/she is elected? That gets a big gufaw!! They don't even have to know where to check a pulse. Most of the time a coroner will get really bent if you wake him/her up in the middle of the night to declare someone dead.
Scary, isn't it? I think the only requirement is that the elected coroner has to attend a basic class for the state, but otherwise it's open to anyone. I've heard horror stories of clueless local coroners screwing up crime scenes, one guy in particular, but I believe he's been out of office for a few years now. I really wish the coroner system would be replaced with a medical examiner system, but that's a whole other rant.