Clinton Municipal Court

Clinton Municipal Court

Originally settled in 1805 at the junction of Old Vicksburg Road and Natchez Trace, the area had become home to many settlers by 1823 when the Governor of Mississippi, Walter Leake, purchased land in the area on which to build a home. Once completed, the Governor’s home was named Mount Salus, which means “mountain of health,” since the home was constructed near a large, flowing spring.

The community near Governor Leake’s residence adopted the name of his home, becoming Mount Salas. Travelers along the Natchez Trace hear many stories about the refreshing springs located in the Mount Salas area. By 1828, Mount Salas was in the running to be considered as the capital of the state of Mississippi, however the town planners felt a more “prestigious” name could help their town be chosen as capital, so they named the town Clinton.

Unfortunately, the town was not chosen as the capital of Mississippi but did experience a phenomenal building boom during the 1930’s, making Clinton the third-largest city in the state, surpassed only by Vicksburg and Natchez. In 1831 the incorporation of the Clinton-Vicksburg Railroad furthered the growth of Clinton as it became home to one of the very largest cotton gins in the U.S., as well as more than 40 businesses and professional offices. Thanks to the railroad, Clinton was able to export as many as 20,000 bales of cotton annually.

The town of Clinton is also known for its “secrets”—like most all towns; things which are a part of the city’s history but may not be well-known by most residents. These secrets include:

  • Charles Lindbergh also made a stop in Clinton, before he was well-known. In 1925 an aviator stopped to buy gasoline for his airplane which had run out of fuel in a nearby pasture. Lindbergh was flying to Davis Field in Jackson. The Ratliff brothers drove Lindbergh back to his airplane and he gave them both a ride in his plane as payment.
  • A move was made in 1891 by the Baptist Convention to move Mississippi College to Meridian from Clinton. This move would have devastated Clinton, so college officials worked with the Clinton mayor and aldermen to stop the proposed move. It was discovered that Clinton was the legal owner of the college, therefore if the Baptist Convention were to move it, not only the endowment, property and buildings, but also the name of the college would be returned to the village of Clinton. Needless to say, Mississippi College remained in Clinton.
  • In December of 1875 Charles Caldwell, a black Republican leader and Mississippi state senator, was lured into Clinton and assassinated at the Chilton Store by some of Clinton’s leading citizens.
  • In 1907 a Clinton postal employee, William Sorsby, shot Charles Fitzgerald, who was a postal inspector from Jackson. Apparently, Sorsby had been embezzling funds from the post office, killing Fitzgerald to ensure his theft was not reported. Sorsby was convicted of Fitzgerald’s murder, serving 15 years prior to be pardoned by Governor Bilbo.

Today, the city of Clinton is known for its historic charm, progressive government, excellent business climate and outstanding educational opportunities (the Clinton Public School District recently ranked number one in the state).

Clinton Municipal Court

The Clinton Municipal Court is located at 305 Monroe Street, Clinton, MS. Judges Samuel D. Habeeb and Steven Nixon preside over the Clinton Municipal Court, Rose Hageman is the Court Administrator, Brianna Brooks is the Deputy Court Clerk and Steven Boone is the Prosecutor. Court is in session every Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. and every other Thursday at 1:00 p.m. The Clinton Municipal Court has jurisdiction over any misdemeanor committed within the city limits as well as hearings for violations of city ordinances. Those accused of a felony offense will also have their initial appearance in the Clinton Municipal Court. Police officer who work for the City of Clinton have the authority to make arrests for traffic offenses and misdemeanor criminal offenses.

The Hinds County Sheriff’s Department can make arrests within the city limits as well, as can the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Once you are on the Natchez Trace Parkway, you are in federal territory which means the National Park Service Park Rangers have jurisdiction. Arraignments are always on Wednesdays, and a ticket or bond will indicate the date of the arraignment. Those who fail to appear for arraignment will immediately be under a warrant for an arrest. Trials are held on Wednesdays or Thursday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. as assigned.

Felonies and Misdemeanors in the State of Mississippi

A felony is typically the most serious offense a person can commit. In the state of Mississippi, there are no sub-categories of felony offenses as there are in many states (first-degree felony, second-degree felony, etc.). Instead, Mississippi lists the penalties for individual felony offenses. A felony conviction in Mississippi comes with a minimum of one year in jail or prison, along with steep fines. Although most felony offenses are violent crimes, this is not always true, as embezzlement, fraud and counterfeiting are all felony offenses in the state. Violent felony offenses include rape, arson, murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, burglary, human trafficking, escaping from prison and even failing to inform a sexual partner of HIV-positive status (and more).

A conviction for a felony offense can result in loss of privileges such as the right to own a gun, the ability to obtain a professional license, the ability to take out a government loan for college, and even the right to vote. Those with a felony conviction may find it very difficult to obtain employment—even jobs they are otherwise well-qualified for. A misdemeanor offense is much less serious, but can nonetheless cause serious repercussions, including difficult obtaining employment. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor offense is up to one year in jail and fines up to $1,000. Misdemeanor offenses include such things as carrying a concealed weapon, possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana, first-offense DUI, shoplifting less than $500 and petty theft. If you are charged with a criminal offense—felony or misdemeanor—it is extremely important that you contact a knowledgeable Mississippi criminal defense attorney.

Contact Our Clinton Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Clinton, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, you need to fight for your rights and protect your freedom. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced Jackson criminal defense attorney immediately.

At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for our clients and we can build a defense that is designed to expose the holes in the prosecution’s case against you. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 265-7766.

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