Rankin County Circuit Court

You will find Rankin County, Mississippi almost perfectly in the middle of the state, bordered by Madison County to the North, Simpson County to the South, Hinds County to the West and Scott County to the East. While Rankin County residents enjoy a mostly rural or suburban setting, Jackson, the state capitol, is close enough to offer all the amenities of a city. Rankin County was founded in 1828, named for Congressman Christopher Rankin. Rankin County is divided from Madison and Hinds Counties by the Pearl River (the second largest river in the state), and, as of the 2010 census had a population of nearly 142,000. The population has almost certainly grown considerably since that census number as Rankin County is considered one of the fastest-growing counties in the state.

The town of Pearl, in Rankin County, is home to the Mississippi Braves minor-league baseball team. The Braves are housed at Trustmark Park, which seats almost 8,500 fans. The 33,000-acre Ross Barnett Reservoir is located between Rankin and Madison Counties and is the state’s largest drinking water resource. The lake features 105 miles of shoreline with a man-made dam and spillway on the south. The reservoir is bounded on the western shore with the historic Natchez Trace Parkway. The Barnett Reservoir is now a major recreational destination for those who live in Rankin County, with over two million people visiting each year to engage in boating, camping, water-skiing and fishing.

Five campgrounds, 16 parks, a mountain bike trail and numerous boat launches offer something for everyone. Three state fishing records came from the Barnett Reservoir—an 18-pound 14-ounce Bowfin, a Paddlefish weighing 65 pounds, and a Smallmouth buffalo fish weighing 57 pounds, 12 ounces. Golfers love Rankin County, with its four local golf courses including The Meadows, Castlewoods, The Refuge and Randy Watkins Golf Group. Phil Bryant, governor of Mississippi, claims Rankin County as his home, and Mary Ann Mobley, Miss Mississippi and Miss America in 1958 hails from Brandon. Country music star, Faith Hill, grew up in Star, Mississippi.

Rankin County Courts

The Rankin County Circuit Court is located at 301 East Government Street, Brandon, Mississippi. Circuit Courts in the state of Mississippi hear felony criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits as well as appeals from County, Justice and Municipal Courts and from administrative boards such as the Mississippi Dept. of Employment Security and the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission. Appeals from Circuit Courts go to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Each district will have from one to four Circuit Court Judges who are selected to serve four-year terms in non-partisan elections.

Trials in Circuit Courts are heard by twelve jurors, although a Judge is allowed to preside with no jury if the dispute is not a question of fact, rather is a question of law. For a civil proceeding, there must be a consensus of 9 out of 12 jurors, however a criminal conviction requires a unanimous vote of 12 jurors. Although the Rankin County Circuit Court—and all Circuit Courts in the state—are generally considered to be the most expensive court in the county, the work done must be efficiently supported. The Rankin Circuit Court Judges include: Dewey Arthur, John Emfinger and Steve Ratcliff.

There is also a County Court in Rankin County; the goal of a County Court is to reduce the workload of the Circuit Court and the Chancery Courts. Rankin County is one of the 19 counties in the state with a County Court. Judge Thomas Broome and Judge Kent McDaniel are the two County Court Judges who have exclusive jurisdiction over partition of personal property, youth courts, eminent domain issues and matters involving unlawful entry and detainer. Jurisdiction of all criminal and civil matters is shared with the County Court for civil and criminal matters and with Chancery and Circuit Courts for matters of law and equity up to $200,000. When transferred by the Circuit Court, non-capital felony criminal cases may also be heard by County Court Judges.

Rankin County has a Justice Court with four judges who are elected by the judicial district, although these judges have county-wide jurisdiction in both jury and non-jury criminal cases and jury and non-jury civil cases. The Justice Court Judges may also perform weddings in Rankin County. The Rankin County Court is located at 301 East Government Street, the Rankin County Justice Court is located at 117 North Timber Street and the Rankin County Chancery Court is located at 203 North Street.

Misdemeanor and Felony Cases in Rankin County

Misdemeanor criminal cases include such offenses as DUI, possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana, simple battery, petty theft, shoplifting merchandise worth less than $500, and carrying a concealed weapon. Tuesdays are “plea dates” for misdemeanor offenses. Those charged with a misdemeanor must enter a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea at this time. If you enter a “not guilty” plea, a trial date will be set. If you choose to enter a “guilty” plea, the judge must make sure you fully understand your charges as well as the potential penalties you could face as a result of the guilty plea.

You must also understand that your constitutional right to a trial by jury is being waived, that you are entitled to an attorney if you are unable to afford one, and that you have the right to cross-examine and confront adverse witnesses as well as the right against self-incrimination. If the judge is satisfied that you understand the rights you are relinquishing by pleading guilty, then he or she will likely impose sentence immediately. You could face up to one year in jail as well as supervised or unsupervised probation, community service, counseling, fines and fees, house arrest, vehicle immobilizations or a victim’s impact seminar.

A felony offense is much more serious than a misdemeanor offense and is punishable by prison time—all the way from one year to life in prison. Felony convictions are also punishable by probation, community service, fines and fees and other penalties as well. Some types of felony offenses are capital murder, murder, manslaughter, sexual battery, domestic violence, robbery, computer fraud with damage or loss greater than $500, drug possession and drug trafficking. Misdemeanor cases, felony cases and civil cases all have statutes of limitations—time limits during which the case must be filed, or it cannot ever be filed. There is no statute of limitation for murder. Criminal offenses are prosecuted in the county where the offense occurred, therefore an offense committed in Rankin County will be prosecuted in Rankin County. Speak to a knowledgeable Rankin County criminal defense attorney as soon as you are criminally charged—or even if you believe you might be criminally charged.

Contact Our Rankin County Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a crime in Rankin County or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Rankin 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 Rankin County clients. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

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