Madison County studying possibility of own circuit court district and DA

By NIKKI ROWELL,

Madison County board of supervisors are looking into the possibility of a separate Circuit Court district and district attorney.

The county currently shares a district with Rankin County, and John Bramlett serves as district attorney.

This is the first time the topic has been brought up by the sitting board of supervisors. The previous board explored the process of creating a new district back in 2014.

Paul Griffin district 5 supervisor said this is something that the previous board was looking to do four years ago. Griffin said it did not move forward, partially because the previous district attorney Michael Guest did not support it.

“Seeing Madison County over the last 35 years grow to one of the top growing counties in Mississippi, my thought was we don’t need to share nothing with no other county. We can hold our own,” Griffin said.

According to board attorney Katie Bryant Snell, to accomplish this, the board must first garner interest before appealing to the state legislature to create a new Circuit Court district.

Once the district is created, a new district attorney position is created by default Snell said.

Since the legislative session is well underway, the board would have to wait until next year to attempt the creation of a new district.

“They would have to do their homework and find out how the judiciary feels about it,” Snell said.

Snell said they would have to lay the groundwork before they present it to the legislature.

Cost is one of the biggest things to consider. Snell said the cost would be split between the state and the county.

If everything were to work out and the district was established, then a district attorney would be appointed, and a special election called.

“I don’t really have an opinion on it yet. We are still researching it,” said Supervisor Trey Baxter. 

District 25 Senator Walter Michel said he would be happy to support the board if they express interest in pursuing the new district further.

“Madison County is a fast-growing county. I would be glad to support it if they introduce the legislation and work hard to get it passed,” Michel said.

Snell said 1994 was the last year that the legislature has created a new Circuit Court district.

 

Mississippi currently has 22 Circuit Court Districts with 53 judges presiding therein.

Districts vary based on size, population and configuration.

The Circuit Court tries felony criminal cases, as well as misdemeanors on appeal, and civil actions involving issues of $3,500 and above.

Among the 22 court districts, only two service only one county. Those are Hinds and Jones counties.

Most other districts in the state include three or more counties.

 

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