2 prepare for judge, post 2 campaign
Each county in Mississippi elects between two and five justice court judges, determined by the county’s population. This is also called the “people’s court,” since the judges hear common cases involving disputes of less than $3,500 and various misdemeanor offenses, according to a document from the Mississippi Association of Supervisors. A justice court judge may also marry people and serves as a notary public.
There are two candidates running for the position of Lincoln County justice court judge post 2: Carl Brown (D) and Roger Martin (R). Both candidates said they would bring to judicial system unyielding fairness paired with an understanding of and desire to correct youth crime cycles.
Brown, of Bogue Chitto, has been in law enforcement for 31 years, 23 of which with the Highway Patrol as a state trooper in Lincoln County before he retired in 2004. For the past eight years, Brown has served as a chancery court bailiff. Brown served in the U.S. Army for over three years, including a 13-month tour in Germany.
Brown said he believes his extensive career in law enforcement, experiences overseas and wisdom from God have instilled him with the knowledge and ability to serve as a justice court judge.
“[I feel I’ve] come in contact with people from all walks of life with that [experience], and I feel that I am able to deal with people and deal with the law,” Brown said. “I think that qualifies me to become a great judge. The people in Lincoln County deserve to be treated fairly, and I would be a judge that would use a common-sense approach along with the law.”
Brown said if elected, he would work with the clerk and other judges to clear the docket. Brown said he is sure there are a good deal of cases that have built up over time, and he would be proactive for people awaiting their day in court without rushing the system.
To serve as a justice court judge is a serious undertaking, Brown said, and he believes the judicial system should exemplify professionalism, integrity and fundamental fairness.
“I feel that there are good people in Lincoln County [who end up in the court system] that got caught up in a bad situation, and I would be a judge that would be able to distinguish between the two and resolve the matter,” Brown said.
“Should I be [elected], my promise … [is] that I will be dedicated, I will be responsible, and I will be fair with everyone that comes before me,” he said. “And I will always make a decision according to the law. I would be there not to judge according to what I would think, [and not to judge] the person, but rather I’d be there to judge the matter.”
Brown lives in Bogue Chitto with his wife of more than 33 years, Gloria, and together they have three children and four grandchildren. Brown is a deacon at Norfield Bethel Baptist Church.
Martin is a life-long Lincoln County resident and local businessman in the automobile and real estate industries. Martin said life experience and the judicial training offered for those elected qualify him for the position of justice court judge.
Martin said that he has witnessed or experienced the full extent of life lessons as one of the youngest of nine brothers and sisters, and his upbringing has made him a very good listener and creative problem-solver.
Martin said with his upbringing, his willingness to learn and what he has learned through his wife’s legal career, he feels more than qualified to listen to the facts, apply the law and give the citizens of this county a fair, unprejudiced day in court.
“Mr. Billy Sunday said ‘Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile,’ ” Martin said. “But supporting my wife through all those late nights in law school and now over 11 years in practice, I’ve gained a basic understanding of the law and legal issues I otherwise would not have.”
Martin said being a justice court judge would be his chance to serve the community he loves dearly, and it could be his chance to make a positive difference in maybe just one person’s life. As a father of two young children, Martin said he wants to make his home a safe and respectable place to live.
“Our country was founded on second chances — bad decisions don’t always make bad people,” Martin said. “Everyone is entitled to a fair, unprejudiced day in court, and, when possible, a second chance to make things right. If elected, you have my word, that’s what you’ll get. I will treat everyone with the same respect that I want to receive.”
Martin said he thinks a lot of the crimes committed in society could be curbed if the ones committing them had a little more direction in the earlier years of their lives.
He said if someone was there to listen to them and be a positive role model, there would be fewer young adults in the justice court system.
Martin said a start would be programs to help offenders work off fines and prevent the cycle so many fall into.
“A person commits a crime, gets caught, is fined and put on probation,” Martin said. “This person doesn’t have a driver’s license because […] of the crime. You have to have money to pay fines. Said monies usually come from working. You can’t go to work to make said monies because you don’t have a driver’s license. We need programs to fix this cycle.”
“Just as a carpenter can’t build a house without lumber, a person can’t begin to get their life straight without some tools also,” he said. “I don’t have all the answers, but I do have the ambition to ask the questions, and the willingness to listen to others to help invest in our future.”
Martin and his wife Heather have two sons and are of the Baptist denomination currently seeking a home church.