Monday, May 13 2013 12:24 PM EDT2013-05-13 16:24:04 GMT
MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A weekend-long drug raid left 22 individuals behind bars, and more arrests to come. According to Marion County Sheriff Berkley Hall, the drug raid is the result of severalMore >>
A weekend-long drug raid left 22 individuals behind bars, and more arrests to come.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:31 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:31:16 GMT
Coastal residents added their voices to those calling for the end of energy policies that hurt the environment. The Hands Across the Sand demonstrations took place on beaches around the world on Saturday.More >>
Coastal residents added their voices to those calling for the end of energy policies that hurt the environment. The Hands Across the Sand demonstrations took place on beaches around the world on Saturday. In South Mississippi, the concern centered around the state government's plan to allow offshore drilling off coastal waters.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:08 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:08:12 GMT
Officials with the Jackson County Sheriff's department say the body of Timothy Gordon, Sr. was found just after 12 p.m. Saturday on the Escatawpa River. Friday evening around 5:30, Gordon and anotherMore >>
The search in Moss Point is over. The body of 55-year-old boater Timothy Gordon has been pulled from the Escatapwa River. Now investigators are saying marijuana may have been involved in the accident.
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:00 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:00:33 GMT
Life through the eyes of a child is often thought to be innocent and colorful. But, that life isn't the same experience for kids who are blind and visually impaired. That's why every year, MississippiMore >>
Every year, Mississippi Lions club puts on a Sea and Sun camp for kids ages 5 to 15 who are visually impaired, giving them the opportunity to experience the fun they often miss out on.More >>
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -
Outgoing Hattiesburg City Judge Vanessa Jones has hired an attorney to represent her against any possible charges that might arise after the results of an internal police investigation into the municipal court system became public.
Jones is never mentioned by name in the 13-page police report that is at the root of the recent upheaval. The report concluded there was inappropriate conduct between judges and court clerks in the Hattiesburg legal system. Overall, the report said there was a major lack of competence in the municipal court system.
Jones has retained attorney Kim Chaze to represent her in any possible litigation. Chaze said on Friday, "I am privileged to represent Judge Vanessa Jones. Although there have been no accusations against her, I am honored to be her advocate and spokesperson should that need arise. There is no basis for any accusation, but if one is made, it will be dealt with vigorously and honorably."
The investigation also said judges were signing blank court documents for court clerks to fill out at their discretion. The report mainly targeted four clerks, accusing them of accepting gifts in exchange for dismissing tickets and fines as well as destroying court documents.
Jones is not the only judge taking action soon after the report surfaces. Judge George Schmidt submitted his letter of resignation to Mayor Johnny DuPree on August 29 citing interference in the operation of the court by the executive branch of city government.
In a written statement submitted to WDAM-TV on Thursday, Schmidt said, "Judges do not have access to city computers, do not have passwords for those computers, nor do we have defendant's jail files. If a clerk tells a judge that an individual defendant has been in prison or has spent time in jail, the judges have not had reason to doubt that information until the recent allegations of wrongdoing by the court clerks." Schmidt also said clerks do not work for judges, but that they work for the police department.
He concluded by saying "I have done nothing that would bring embarrassment or dishonor to my family, my profession, or the judiciary."
Mayor DuPree plans to replace judges Jones, Schmidt, and Jolly Matthews at the end of the September in favor of a single judge, and the court system will then no longer be under the supervision of the police department but will instead be overseen by the city clerk's office.
As for the punishment doled out against court clerks, one was terminated, and three were suspended. Two have returned to work after serving five-day suspensions without pay, and another received a 10-day suspension. Two have been offered positions elsewhere in the city. The other will return to city court.
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