Danny Smith takes over district attorney’s duties

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2001

MAGNOLIA — Danny Smith wants the District Attorney’s Office toplay a more active role in the community.

Smith was sworn in as district attorney Monday following DunnLampton’s appointment as U.S. attorney. Smith, who will be thechief prosecutor for Lincoln, Pike and Walthall counties, wasappointed to his new position Friday by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

“I am a community action prosecutor,” Smith said.

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In that regard, Smith is the co-founder of the SouthwestMississippi Children’s Advocacy Center and is president of itsboard of directors. He said he is looking forward to seeing whatthe DA’s office can do to help the agency’s offices in Pike andLincoln counties.

“We’re going to be out of the office and in the community asmuch as we can,” Smith said.

Smith, 53, said the district attorney’s job is to not only putcriminals behind bars but to help families. He mentioned efforts toprosecute and collect unpaid child support payments.

“That will continue to be a focus of our office,” Smith said. “Ithink it’s the right thing to do.”

Smith has been with the district attorney’s office for 16 years.However, if his name is not familiar to Lincoln Countians, it’sbecause he’s spent the last eight as business administrator andassistant district attorney for the Pike County office.

Smith, a Covington County native who received his law degreefrom Ole Miss, said he plans to spend a lot more time in LincolnCounty.

“I’m looking forward to renewing friendships with people inLincoln County,” Smith said.

With the change in leadership will be some new faces as well assome who will be returning. Smith said all the office’s supportstaff is remaining.

“That is a real benefit to me and the community,” Smith said.”We have some outstanding people.”

Joining the office as assistant district attorneys will beRodney Tidwell and Brandon Frazier, who will be assigned to thePike County office, and Timothy Craig Howard, who will be in theBrookhaven office. Current Assistant District Attorney Diane Jonesis staying with the Brookhaven office.

Along with Lampton, several others have or will soon bedeparting. Bill Goodwin, assistant district attorney in PikeCounty, resigned to focus on writing a book, and Jerry Rushing,assistant district attorney in the Brookhaven office, is expectedto join Lampton in the U.S. attorney’s office in about 45 days,Smith said.

Margaret Lang, victims assistance coordinator, retired followingLampton’s resignation. Smith said Lang, Lampton and formerinvestigator Jim Smith, who retired about a year ago, had been withthe office 25 years.

“They are really some of the finest public servants I’ve everbeen involved with,” Smith said. “We are going to miss them andtheir experience.”

Lampton was sworn in Friday as U.S. attorney, and Smith said hereceived the appointment call from Musgrove about two hourslater.

A special election will be held in November 2002 to fill theremainder of Lampton’s term. Smith said he will be a candidate.