Brandon Municipal Court
Before the European settlement, the land which is now the city of Brandon was inhabited by Native Americans as it was centrally located to trails leading to villages. Early settlers, traders and missionaries camped near what is now the Town Square. Soon, a trading post known today as the Old Bible Homestead began offering overnight accommodations for humans and livestock and the government bought the land from the Native Americans. In 1828, 31 residents of the area which is now known as Rankin County asked the Mississippi Legislature to divide the part of Hinds County which was east of the Pearl River (because the river was a natural division), forming a new county.
Once this was accomplished, residents asked for a justice seat in their newly formed county to help all the residents who were buying land, paying their taxes and conducting many other business issues. The newly formed county was named Rankin for the distinguished Mississippi lawyer and politician, Christopher Rankin. The proposed name for the county seat was Poindexter, however the name Brandon was eventually chosen in honor of the new Governor Gerard Brandon. A railroad was built from Brandon to Jackson in 1836, however it was not put into use until 1850, however the railroad was later relocated a mile north of Brandon. Brandon, like all towns in the south, suffered devastation from the Civil War when most of the town was burned by Union soldiers.
As Brandon struggled during the reconstruction years, the town was forced to deal with massive outbreaks of yellow fever in 1871, 1878, 1888 and 1893, with 1878 being the worst. Many schools and churches closed, yet Brandon residents continued rebuilding. In 1928, tragedy once more came to Brandon when a fire destroyed the majority of the downtown. Next came the Great Depression in the 1930’s; Brandon residents were more fortunate than many because the rich farmlands provided enough food for the residents of the town to survive.
Brandon was originally a 40-acre tract, and it was over 100 years (1948) before there was a major extension of the boundaries. The next major extension occurred in 1978, when Crossgates was annexed. More recently, Brandon was named two separate times as a Top 100 Small Town in America by Forbes. One of the more notable Brandon residents was Miss America from 1959, Mary Ann Mobley. Mobley later made television show guest appearances and had a successful career on Broadway.
Brandon Municipal Court
Brandon Municipal Court is located at 1455 West Government Street, Brandon, Mississippi. Preliminary hearings and hearings are held on Wednesdays at the Brandon Municipal Court, with preliminary hearings held at 9:00 a.m. and hearings at 2:00 p.m. The Municipal Court Clerk and Deputy Court Clerks are under the direction of Judge Whitney Adams. Traffic violations, misdemeanors and other criminal offenses are heard in the Brandon Municipal court as are city ordinance violation offenses. In addition to the Brandon Police Department, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and the Mississippi Highway patrol can all make arrests within the city limits of Brandon.
Felonies and Misdemeanors
A Mississippi felony offense should be taken very seriously, as the penalties can range from a year in prison up to life in prison (except for a capital offense which can bring the death penalty). Capital offenses include hijacking an airplane, treason and capital murder. While some states divide felonies and misdemeanors into sub-categories (first-degree felony, Class A felony, etc.), Mississippi does not, rather lists the individual offenses and the penalties for the offense. Some examples of felony offenses and punishments in the state include:
- A murder conviction could result in life in prison for the perpetrator.
- A manslaughter conviction could result in as many as 20 years in prison for the perpetrator.
- Possession of a Class V substance (depending on the amount) can result in 1-4 years in prison for the perpetrator and a fine as large as $10,000.
- A sexual battery conviction in the state of Mississippi can result in up to 30 years in prison and fines as large as $10,000 for the perpetrator.
- A Mississippi conviction for robbery can result in up to 15 years in prison for the perpetrator.
- A computer fraud conviction which results in damage or loss of more than $500 can result in up to 5 years in prison, and/or a fine as large as $10,000 for the perpetrator.
Felony convictions can bring an array of additional unintended consequences. A person with a felony conviction could find themselves unable to get a job—even a job they are otherwise well-qualified for. A felony conviction can also result in an inability to obtain a professional license, a government student loan, or even the inability to own a firearm, vote, or rent an apartment.
While a misdemeanor criminal offense is not nearly as serious as a felony offense, unless the misdemeanor offense is eventually expunged, it can remain on a criminal record, causing problems for years to come. A misdemeanor crime can be increased to a felony offense when there are aggravating factors present or when it is a subsequent offense such as a second or subsequent DUI, BUI or any number of other misdemeanor offenses. Sentencing can also be enhanced when certain factors are present. Some examples of when sentencing enhancements may be implemented include:
- The use of a firearm
- A doubled sentence when a drug crime is committed near a school, playground or church
- Crimes against elderly victims
- Crimes against vulnerable victims
- Sex crimes against younger persons
- Hate crimes
- Prior convictions
- Multiple DUIs
- 2nd shoplifting offense in 7 years
- 2nd offense of simple possession of marijuana
- Sex crime enhancements—drugging another person for sex to make them mentally or physically incapable of giving consent, even if the two know each other or have a pre-existing relationship.
Those who have been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony criminal offense should contact a knowledgeable Mississippi criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible after the charges are filed.
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