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Natchez, Mississippi

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville established Natchez as Fort Rosalie in 1716; in 1729 the establishment survived a massacre by the Natchez Indians, later taking the name of Natchez. Natchez passed from France to England at the end of the French and Indian War, then was captured by a Spanish expedition in 1779. The United States took possession of Natchez in 1798, making it the first capital of the Mississippi Territory. In the early 1800s, Natchez was a retreat for many well-known millionaires and was considered the second-wealthiest city in the United States, following New York City.

Natchez was spared destruction during the Civil War due to a peaceful surrender to Union troops, and currently has more antebellum dwellings than any other American city, including more than 1,000 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In particular, Melrose Mansion, a part of the Natchez National Historical Park, is definitely worth touring. Melrose was not a plantation, but a town home, built in the 1840s. Natchez recovered from a post-Civil War decline to become one of Mississippi’s leading industrial centers. The basis of the economy includes lumber, petroleum, natural gas, wood pulp, tourism, and tire manufacturing.

Today, Natchez is home to more than 15,000 people. Natchez-Under-the-Hill is now occupied by shops and restaurants, rather than the taverns and bordellos which were once a haven for boatmen and outlaws. Each May, the month-long Natchez Opera Festival is held, plus many movies have been shot in the Natchez area, including Horse Soldiers, Rascals and Robbers, Ma, Raintree County, Crossroads, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

Natchez is home to the historic Jefferson College which was attended by Jefferson Davis. On the campus of Jefferson College, under the “Burr Oaks,” Aaron Burr’s trial for treason was held. The state’s first constitutional convention was held in 1817 in a Methodist Church building in Natchez. Near Natchez are the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Emerald Mound, Natchez State Park, and Homochitto National Forest. Some of the notable people from Natchez include:

  • Glen Ballard, songwriter/producer, and five-time Grammy winner;
  • Campbell Brown, political anchor for CNN and award-winning journalist;
  • Ellen Douglas, novelist, and author, nominated for the National Book Award;
  • Mickey Gilley, country music singer;
  • Hugh Green, University of Pittsburgh all-American defensive end, Heisman runner-up;
  • Von Hutchins, former NFL football player for the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and Indianapolis Colts;
  • Rosa Vertner Jeffry, novelist, and poet;
  • Marion Montgomery, singer;
  • Lynda Lee Mead, Miss Mississippi and Mis America;
  • Chris Shivers, two-time PBR world champion bull rider;
  • Hound Dog Taylor, slide guitar player and blues singer, and
  • Marie Selika Williams, the first black artist to perform at the White House.
Natchez Municipal Court

The Natchez Municipal Court is located at 233 D’Evereux Drive, Natchez, MS. The Municipal Court Judge presides over pretrial hearings, small claims proceedings, city traffic violations, and misdemeanor cases within the City of Natchez. Initial appearances, in which defendants are advised of the charges being filed, as well as bond hearings and preliminary hearings, are also held in the Natchez Municipal Court. The judge for the Natchez, Mississippi Municipal Court is the Honorable Judge Jim Blough.

Criminal Statutes of Limitations in Mississippi

Although victims of criminal offenses in the state certainly have the right to hold the perpetrator accountable, the accused also have rights. The criminal statutes of limitations set time limits in which legal action must be pursued, or no action can be taken. The criminal offense statute of limitations runs immediately after a criminal offense is committed—or beginning when the victim discovers damages from the criminal offense. If the accused is on the run, hiding from law enforcement, then the statute does not begin until he or she is located and is in the state or court’s jurisdiction—in other words, merely hiding out for a couple of years will not prevent a person who committed a criminal offense from being prosecuted.

All misdemeanor offenses in the state have statutes of limitations of two years. Some especially serious felonies do not have statutes (murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, sexual abuse of a minor, human trafficking, domestic violence, kidnapping, rape, arson, and burglary). For conspiracy, abuse of a vulnerable person or assistance program fraud, the statute of limitations is five years. For larceny or theft of timber, the statute is six years, and for all other felonies in the state of Mississippi, the statute is two years.

Felonies and Misdemeanors in the State of Mississippi

Felony offenses are more serious than misdemeanor criminal offenses, and usually—though not always—are crimes against other persons. A felony in the state of Mississippi can also be a crime such as computer fraud or embezzlement—white collar criminal offenses. The primary distinction between felonies and misdemeanors in the state are the penalties—felonies have imprisonment sentences from one year to life, while misdemeanor offenses have jail sentences of one year or less.

Capital Crimes in the State of Mississippi

A capital crime in the state of Mississippi is one of three offenses: treason, hijacking an aircraft, and capital murder. Capital penalties are the most serious an individual can receive in the state of Mississippi, following life in prison. Lethal injection is the only method of execution used in the state of Mississippi. A capital murder offense can be charged in any of the following situations:

  • The death occurred while the perpetrator was committing another felony against a minor;
  • The crime was perpetrated on property owned by an educational institution;
  • The crime resulted in the death of an elected official;
  • The crime resulted in the death of a police officer, court official, firefighter, attorney or other peace officer;
  • The crime resulted in the death of three or more people through a single act;
  • The crime was perpetrated for capital gain or personal gain;
  • The crime was perpetrated using an explosive device, or
  • The crime was perpetrated while the individual was serving a life sentence in prison.

If an individual murders more than three people within a three-year period in the state of Mississippi, he or she could be sentenced to capital punishment. Those charged with a Mississippi felony or misdemeanor should immediately contact an experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights and future are protected.

Contact Our Natchez Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been arrested on felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in the state of Mississippi, it is crucial that you speak to a knowledgeable Natchez criminal defense attorney who will ensure your rights are properly protected. 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) 948-1600 or (877) 231-1600.

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