September 23, 2009 9:50:00 AM
Absentee ballots are available for the Lowndes County District 1 Justice Court judge''s seat vacated when Phillip Robertson died in November 2008.
In addition to normal business hours -- 8 a.m.-5 p.m.. Monday through Friday -- the Lowndes County Circuit Clerk''s office will be open Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 8 a.m. until noon, for absentee voting.
Five Lowndes County citizens will be on the Nov. 3 special election ballot to fill the seat for the remainder of the term.
Lowndes County Sheriff''s Office Investigator Lt. Tony Cooper, attorney Chris Hemphill, who has held the seat in the interim, has qualified for the seat, as well as Michael Tate Sr., a semi-retired rental property owner and manager, Carolyn Robertson, Phillip Robertson''s widow and a real estate agent and auctioneer, and Ronald C. Cooke, a retired Justice Court judge.
The deadline for voting by absentee ballot in person is Saturday, Oct. 31, at noon. Mailed absentee ballots must be returned by mail to the circuit clerk''s office by 5 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Precincts participating in the election are Caledonia, Steens, Immanuel, Airbase, Lee Middle, portions of Columbus High and portions of Brandon/
For more information regarding absentee ballots, call the Lowndes County circuit clerk''s office at 662-329-5900.
Caledonia needs Cooper commented at 9/23/2009 10:17:00 PM:
Wow, what a one sided article that was! Not only do you make a point of explaining the incumbant's (limited)experience and profession, but you also leave out the most qualified person on the ballot, Tony Cooper! You need to make a big correction, and emphasize that you left his name out of the story. Not only will he make a good judge, he actually LIVES in Caledonia, goes to church there, coaches soccer and has children in school there--not a private school.
The least the Dispatch could do is make a huge correction, with his name first!
It''s District 1 commented at 9/24/2009 9:00:00 AM:
Yes, the article did not include Cooper's name, but that is the ONLY correct information in your comment. Limited experience??? Mr. Hemphill has a law degree & has practiced law for 17 yrs. If you did some research, you would know that the Justice Court Judge position is for District 1, not just Caledonia, and it is civil law & criminal law. Mr. Hemphill has experience in both! Besides, two out of every three court days are civil law cases. So, Mr. Hemphill IS the most qualified! Mr. Hemphill lives in Caledonia & has lived in Caledonia for the past 7 1/2 yrs, he attends New Salem Baptist Church, coaches soccer & baseball at Ola J. Park, is a member of the soccer & baseball boards at Ola J. Park, has (2)children in Caledonia schls & they have ALWAYS attended Caledonia schls, his wife is & has been a substitute teacher for Caledonia schls for 2 yrs, his wife is & has been a volunteer at Caledonia Elem. for 4 yrs. Where are you getting your information??? Do some research!!! It's the least YOU can do.
MaryD commented at 9/24/2009 12:42:00 PM:
I have posted previously asking for pros and cons for all of the candidates so that the voters can make a more informed decision. Why doesn't anyone want to do this? As a resident of District 1, I want the best person in the position. Being active in all of the social activities in the community doesn't a good judge make. It is professionalism, integrity, and objectivity to name a few. It is my understanding that Mr. Cooper will have to quit his job with the sheriff's dept if he is elected because one cannot serve in 2 branches of government. Is that the case for Mr. Hemphill as well? He is county attorney for Noxubee County, so if elected, that would put him serving in 2 branches of government. And would Mr. Hemphill be willing to take such a significant pay cut? As I have stated previously, having a law degree is not REQUIRED for any elected office (not even president) except for circuit court and higher level judges. As far as the wives are concerned, how does that play into who will be the better judge? I think Mr. Cooper's wife is pretty active in the community as well. So doing research is a good idea. The more information that is out there for all of the candidates the better.
mikea commented at 9/24/2009 2:22:00 PM:
Would you want a doctor diagnosing you if he/she didn't have a medical degree? Would you let a surgeon operate on you if he/she didn't have a medical degree? Would you want a teacher teaching your child if he/she didn't have a teaching degree? It is insane that Mississippi allows people to be any type of judge without requiring a law/legal degree. Mr. Hemphill is currently practicing law (he has an office in Columbus) and he is fullfilling his duties as JC Judge. I believe that "It's District 1" was driving home the point that Mr. Hemphill and his family are very much residents of Caledonia. I have done my research, and what I have found is that Mr. Hemphill is an extremely professional & fair judge.
MaryD commented at 9/24/2009 5:05:00 PM:
mikea: Thanks for your input. I disagree with your comparisons though. A medical degree does not ensure competence in diagnosing or surgery as evidenced by public opinion and numerous malpractice lawsuits. In the state of MS, a teaching degree is not required for one to be a teacher. While education degree applicants are given priority; there are those people who, like myself, have a Bachelor's degree in something besides education, yet chose to take the teacher's certification exam, and now teach. I, too have researched the candidates, and have found that Mr. Hemphill rarely conducts initial appearances (important to set bonds after arrests) and is frequently unavailable to issue and/or sign warrants. I have also learned that Mr. Hemphill is unavailable on Mondays because of his duties in Noxubee County, of which he is NOT a resident. I do not doubt that Mr. Hemphill has the potential to be an "extremely professional and fair judge." I think all of the candidates possess those characteristics. Ron Cooke had no complaints filed against him when he was judge that I know of. Mr. Cooper and Mrs. Roberson both have good reputations as well. I think the idea that a judge should be a lawyer is just a red herring to cloud the real issue. I didn't go to school to be a teacher, but I am one now, and I am very good at it.
Caledonia needs Cooper commented at 9/24/2009 10:10:00 PM:
"Yes, the article did not include Cooper's name, but that is the ONLY correct information in your comment. Limited experience??? Mr. Hemphill has a law degree & has practiced law for 17 yrs."
Limited experience as in dealing with justice issues in Lowndes county as a judge. I think 23 years in uniform trumps 17 years in a suit.
Mr. Hemphill does a good job of getting people onto the Social Security payroll, I'll give him that, but as far as dealing with criminals, I don't think he is the best choice.
I didn't ask what his wife's qualifications were. She could be the school custodian and that wouln't matter. Sounds like he and Cooper both have the same kind of community involvement.
My researched vote goes for Cooper.
Judge Chris Hemphill commented at 9/25/2009 7:36:00 AM:
A citizen is certainly entitled to support who they want to for an elected position, but their support should be based on an informed review of the qualifications of a candidate, not false information. I was told that there was inaccurate information being posted on this website. After reviewing the postings, it is clear that mis-information and downright lies are being spread by certain individuals.
If you or any other citizen would care to be correctly informed, please feel free to contact me at 327-4211 (ext. 20).
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