Hinds County Justice Court
Though not as old as the counties formed from the Natchez District, which was partly settled when the country was a colonial possession, Hinds County nonetheless has significant in the history of Mississippi. Hinds County is situated in the west-central section of the state. It originally included a region which was greatly desired not only by the federal government but by the people in the state of Mississippi as well. George Poindexter, the governor of Mississippi at that time was intensely interested, working hard with the Choctaw Indians who were looking at a treaty ceding the area to the United States. Congress appropriated $20,000 for the expense of the treaty, which General Andrew Jackson and General Thomas Hinds were chosen to negotiate.
The Choctaw Chieftains refused to cede the land, but after much time and many negotiations, the Choctaws eventually agreed to cede 5,500,000 acres. In return, the United States ceded the Choctaw tribe a region in the west. As soon as the Treaty of Doak’s Stand became known in Arkansas, a protest rose. Congress yielded to the protest, appropriating $65,000 to change one line due south from the southwest corner of Missouri. Arkansas asked for another extension, and an act was passed to move the border 40 miles west. The Choctaws, however, stood firmly on the treaty made by Jackson.
Hinds County, Mississippi was finally established on February 12, 1821, named for General Thomas Hinds. Five commissioners were elected, and a site selected for a courthouse and jail for Hinds County in 1828. In January of 1829, an act was passed making Raymond the town where the court would be held; all books, records, and papers belonging to the courts were taken to Raymond. Hinds County has approximately 362,000 acres of cleared land; in 1890 the population of the county was about 40,000, and today there are more than 240,000 in the county. Within the boundaries of Hinds County lie the state Capitol, Jackson, as well as two county seats, one in Jackson and one in Raymond. There are several railroads which cross Hinds County; the Illinois Central, the Natchez, Jackson & Columbus, and the Yazoo branch of the Illinois Central.
Hinds County Justice Court
Hinds County Justice Court is located at 407 East Pascagoula Street, Jackson, MS. The hours of the Hinds County Justice Court are 8:00-5:00, Monday through Friday. Civil actions of $3,500 or less are processed in the Hinds County Justice Court, as well as misdemeanor criminal charges. The judges for the Hinds County Justice Court include:
- District 1: Judge Don Palmer
- District 2: Judge Tabitha Britton Porter
- District 3: Judge Frank Sutton
- District 4: Judge Jimmy Morton
- District 5: Judge Pearlie Brown Owens
The distinction between a civil case and a criminal case is important. In a civil case, a contested matter occurs between two people or entities. In a criminal case, however, there is a trial between the State of Mississippi and the person accused of committing the criminal offense. Even when the victim of a crime contacts the police and presses charges, the case is still between the state and the person charged.
Criminal Offenses in Hinds County
Even a minor criminal charge can cause significant anxiety for the person charged. Much of that anxiety and stress are the result of a lack of understanding the state criminal laws. Mississippi criminal offenses are divided into capital offenses, felonies, and misdemeanors. A capital crime is either murder, treason, or aircraft piracy (hijacking). The penalty for a capital crime conviction can be life in prison or the death penalty. Lethal injection is used as the method of execution in the state. A capital murder could be charged if any of the following are true of the crime:
- The murder was perpetrated for personal gain.
- The murder was perpetrated on property owned by an educational institution.
- An elected official was the murder victim.
- A firefighter or peace officer was the murder victim.
- Three or more people were killed in a single act.
- The murder occurred while the defendant was serving life in prison.
- An explosive device was used in the murder.
- The murder occurred while the defendant was committing another felony offense against a minor.
Criminal Offense Classifications in the State of Mississippi
Every state has its way of classifying criminal offenses, as well as identifying the statutory punishments for each classification. In the state of Mississippi, there are two primary classifications—felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the more serious of the two, and while many states further break down felonies and misdemeanors into levels, the state of Mississippi does not. In fact, the only distinction between a felony offense and a misdemeanor offense in the state of Mississippi is that felonies carry a sentence of one year or more, while misdemeanors have sentences of less than one year. Under Title 97 of the Mississippi Code, every criminal offense and the corresponding sentence is clearly detailed.
Victims of criminal offenses have the right to hold perpetrators of those offenses accountable, however, the rights of the perpetrators are also protected. This means that for most criminal offenses, the suspect may not be held accountable indefinitely. Statutes of limitations set specific time limits under which the state must pursue legal action against the suspect or be barred forever from doing so. All misdemeanors in the state of Mississippi have a statute of limitations of two years. Murder has no statute of limitations, meaning that decades after a murder occurred a person could be arrested and prosecuted. Most felony offenses have a statute of limitations of two years, but other offenses have longer statutes. As an example, there is a five-year statute of limitations for abuse of assistance programs.
Contact Our Hinds County Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, whether felony or misdemeanor, contact an experienced Hinds County criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. 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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