Strong has quick first day on bench

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 7, 2006

Fourteenth Circuit Court Judge David Strong wrapped up his firstday in his first Lincoln County regular court term in just over anhour Tuesday, rapidly dispensing justice in a variety of cases.

“I’m a quick talker,” Strong quipped before getting serious.”There wasn’t a whole lot today. I don’t have much in LincolnCounty right now.”

Strong ruled on a civil motion, heard five criminal arraignmentsand two case hearings and accepted three guilty pleas forembezzlement, a bad check and a drug charge.

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Strong was appointed Aug. 1 by Gov. Haley Barbour to finish theterm of Judge Mike Smith, who retired in May.

Prior to Strong’s appointment, Judge Mike Taylor had been managingboth Smith’s docket and his own.

“Anything he took a plea on, he kept,” Strong said. “I’m prettylight in Lincoln County right now. I’ve spent a substantial amountof time in Pike.”

Strong has also held a full court term in Walthall County and wasin Lincoln County Aug. 28 ruling on a variety of motions in bothcriminal and civil cases.

“It’s very different from practicing law,” he said. “I’ve certainlyenjoyed my 30-plus days as judge. I feel like I came into this jobwell prepared to handle a criminal docket.”

Strong will face one opponent, McComb attorney Michael Shareef, inthe general election Nov. 7 in his bid to retain the job. Taylor isunopposed for the other judge post in the three-county courtdistrict.

The appointment will likely not benefit him greatly during thecampaign, he said.

“It’s such a short-term appointment that it doesn’t give me theadvantage that an incumbent might get,” Strong said. “I want peopleto vote on my qualifications before I took the bench as well as myperformance since I took the appointment.”