Madison County Court

Madison County Court

Madison County, Mississippi was formed from a portion of Yazoo County, named for President James Madison and was originally part of the Choctaw Nation. The area which is now Madison County was claimed by Georgia until 1804 when it was ceded to the Mississippi Territory. Located in central Mississippi, Madison County has benefitted from the growth of the Jackson metropolitan area, even though Jackson is in Hinds County. Towns in Madison County include Camden, Farmhaven, Canton, Flora, Ridgeland and Madison.

The first County Seat of Madison County was the Big Black River landing town of Beattie’s Bluff, and the second was Livingston. Canton serves as the County Seat of Madison County. Madison began as an agricultural area; in 1860 the county ranked third in the state for growing corn, fourth for growing cotton, fifth for growing Irish potatoes, and first for growing sweet potatoes. At that time, there were only 169 industrial workers, with the majority of those employed in blacksmith shops and mills. During that same time Madison County had thirty-nine churches with a greater variety of denominations than most of the state.

Belle Kearney, Madison County native, attended the Canton Ladies Academy, later emerging as a leader in the state movements for women’s suffrage. By 1930, Canton was known for having more than six thousand farms, growing cotton and corn and raising cattle. By the 1960’s, Madison County’s population had slightly declined to about 33,000, remaining largely agricultural, with more than a third of all workers employed in the agricultural industries. Today, agriculture, including cotton, soybeans, cattle and forestry remain Madison County industries.

By 2010, Madison County had nearly 100,000 residents, growing 190 percent since 1960. Today, Madison County has one of Mississippi’s lowest poverty rates, thanks in part to the 2002 opening of a Nissan plant in the county. Visitors and residents alike will enjoy the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Children’s Museum, the Medgar Evers Home, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the Natchez Trace Multi-Use Trail, the Ridgeland Bike Trail, the Old Capitol Museum, the Winner’s Circle Park, the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum, the Eudora Welty House and Gardens, LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, the Sweet Olive Boat Tours and the Antique Mall of the South.

Madison County Court

Madison County is one of 21 counties in Mississippi with a County Court. These courts are created by the legislature in an attempt to reduce the overburdened Circuit and Chancery Courts. The two County Court Judges in Madison County Court have exclusive jurisdiction over matters involving unlawful entry, eminent domain, partition of personal property and youth courts. The Madison County Court shares jurisdiction with Justice Court in all matters, civil and criminal and shares jurisdiction with the Circuit and Chancery Courts in all matters of law and equity up to $200,000. Madison County Court Judges also hear non-capital felony criminal cases which are transferred by the Circuit Court. The Madison County Court is located at the Madison County Courthouse at 128 W. North Street in Canton. Judge Staci O’Neal, Place I and Judge Ed Hannan, Place II, preside over the County Court and Youth Court.

Felony and Misdemeanor Offenses

While both felony offenses and misdemeanor offenses are criminal offenses, felony offenses are much more serious. While many felony offenses involve injury to another human being, not all do. (computer fraud and embezzlement, to name two). Many misdemeanors can turn into a felony if it is a subsequent charge for the same offense, or, in the case of shoplifting or theft, if the value of the item is more than $500. A first or second DUI is a misdemeanor but a third or subsequent DUI is a felony. Felony convictions can have very far-reaching effects, aside from potential prison time and very expensive fines. A person with a felony conviction can find it difficult to obtain employment, and will be prohibited from owning a firearm, obtaining a professional license, voting, renting a home or apartment, or getting a federal student loan. While a misdemeanor offense may be able to be expunged, a felony offense cannot, therefore will remain on your criminal history forever.

Felony offenses in the state of Mississippi include capital murder, murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, arson, sexual crimes like sexual battery, drug possession and drug trafficking, domestic violence and robbery. For the felony offense of capital murder, the sentence could be life in prison with or without the possibility of parole or even the death penalty. For the felony offense of sexual battery, you could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. For the felony offense of robbery, you could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, and for computer fraud with a damage or loss of $500 or more, you could be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

Misdemeanor offenses include first or second DUIs, possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana, criminal mischief, stalking, disorderly conduct, forgery, hazing, shoplifting an item worth less than $500, theft of property worth less than $500, simple assault, trespass or perjury. Misdemeanor crimes are usually those where no one was seriously injured. While not nearly as serious as a felony criminal offense, a misdemeanor offense can nonetheless make it more difficult for you to obtain employment and could even cause you to lose your current job. Misdemeanor offenses in the state of Mississippi have a maximum jail penalty of one year—which would be served in a local or county jail, while those with felony convictions will serve their time at the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Criminal offenses have statutes of limitations which means there is a certain amount of time in which the state has to file charges for the offense. If the charges are not filed within that window of time, then they can never be filed. There are exceptions to the statutes, most notably murder, which has no statute of limitations. This means that ten, twenty, thirty, even fifty years after a murder occurred, a person could still be charged and prosecuted for the crime. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the state of Mississippi—felony or misdemeanor—it is important that you contact an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney who will safeguard your rights.

Contact Our Madison County Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a crime in Madison County or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Madison County criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights throughout the criminal process.

At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That’s why we work tirelessly to defend our Madison County clients. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 265-7766.

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