October 27, 2010 12:24:00 PM
The residents of Oktibbeha, Lowndes, Clay and Noxubee have the opportunity to elect a new judge in the Place 1 race. I strongly urge you to vote for William Starks. Mississippi has increased its prison population by 105 percent, based on the state''s population between 1994 and 2007, and the time has come to find a better solution than the status quo. This steady increase is straining our state corrections system, county budgets, and families in our communities. William Starks is willing to do the hard work necessary to help relieve this burden.
William Starks has many fine qualities that will make him an honorable judge. He was a National Merit Finalists from Starkville High School and participated in community activities such as 4-H Club, football, and soccer. People in Starkville may remember him when he attended First Baptist Church in Starkville. Presently, he and his family attend First United Methodist in Columbus. He is married to the lovely Danette West and they have three children.
An honors law school graduate, William Starks has the ability to form well reasoned decisions that will not be overturned on appeal as some of his opponent''s cases have. Retrying cases because of judicial errors is a cost taxpayers should not have to pay. After ten-years of experience in criminal defense, Mr. Starks decided to run for circuit court judge to offer our community a new option rather than a continuation of judicial rulings like those of his opponent.
A vote for William Starks for circuit court judge will give our circuit court fairness and judicial rulings consistent with the law. I urge everyone to get out and vote next Tuesday, Nov. 2. Vote for William Starks!
stormy commented at 10/28/2010 3:46:00 AM:
From your statement that Starks "is willing to do the hard work necessary to help relieve this burden" (straining our state corrections system), I take it you mean that he will be unwilling to send folks to prison that needs to be there?
I am very glad to hear that Starks had a good childhood and that he is a church going family man.
However,what I really want to know is how many decisions has he made? How much experance does he have in face to face court time trying cases, what kind of cases has he tried?
"An honors law school graduate, William Starks has the ability to form well reasoned decisions that will not be overturned on appeal as some of his opponent's cases have."
How can you make it sound that Jim Kitchens is totally responsible for the prisons and jails being filled? Do you take into account the increase in nation wide crimes during that time? Do you know that Jim Kitchens works with these drug/DUI cases trying to get them in to treatment programs for rehab if possiable BEFORE sending them down the road when they, how should I say, flunkout. Depending on the crime, it is the JURY that says these people are guilty.
bulldog99 commented at 10/28/2010 7:19:00 PM:
Stormy, I understand your concern but I would like to inform you about what has been going on in the courts of district 16. First, I would like to say I am a William Starks Supporter. I can not tell you the exact decisions Mr Starks has made but I can tell you the decisions that Judge Jim Kitchens has made in the past. He has made some very very harsh sentences and to be honest just cruel. You say "Jim Kitchens works with these drug/DUI cases trying to get them in to treatment programs for rehab if possiable BEFORE sending them down the road when they, how should I say, flunkout." Since when? since the past few months since he has been under fire for what he has done for years and years and because he is up for re-election. Your Statement is false and all you have to do is march over to the records department in the circuit clerks office and take a look for yourself. For 8 years or whatever he has slammed first time offenders with not even a jay-walking violation straight to MDOC. Many offenders even went to private drug treatment facilities on their own to show Judge Kitchens they have been making a positive change. This did not matter to him at all. Off to prison.( I would also like to remind you, these are not thugs from the projects. These are College Students. Engineers, Architects, Science majors, Real estate majors etc. Kids from good families).Your Statement is false. Judge Kitchens has locked away so many MS State students for petty drug crimes and sentenced them up to 25 years for something as little as 2 grams of cocaine. ( thats about as much sugar most people put in their coffee). Could you imagine one of your loved ones, maybe your mother, your brother, your child.... being thrown in PRISON For 25 years for something so stupid as marijuana while they were in college?? 25 years!!!!, PLEASE TAKE A MIN AND THINK ABOUT THAT. And for what? Who did he harm? Who did he kill? Who did he bother? Whose life did he put in jeopardy? The Answer: Nobody. We all break the law. How many of us speed or Have burned CD's with our favorite music on them? That a federal offense. You can be sentences to 5 years in prison and A $250,000 but nobody is ,because its stupid. Its stupid like these little petty drug crimes that Kitchens is famous for.
Stormy your next incorrect statement is that you claim its not Judge Kitchens, its the Jury that says these people are guilty. That statement right there shows me your lack of knowledge of the court system. Less then 2% of cases go before a jury. That 2 out of 100 for yall Kitchen supporters. That means Kitchens decides on the remaining 98. Now the most important point of informing. You say "How can you make it sound that Jim Kitchens is totally responsible for the prisons and jails being filled?" Judge Kitchens is the one that sentences them to outrageous lengths of time. Stormy did you know District 16, Sends more people to prison for drugs then Hattiesburg and Jackson??
Judge Kitchens has filled our prisons to the top with low level offenders and cost tax payer millions. He has destroyed families,and young adults lives for making a mistake while they were dumb and immature. The most important fact for everybody to look at is what good has this Done? Are drugs still on the streets? Yes. Are drugs just as easy to get? Yes. Are our streets any safer? No. Locking up low level drug offenders does nothing; Nothing at all but cost tax payers millions. I am not saying that Drugs are not bad. They are a terrible thing, also lets be realistic.... they are unstoppable. They have been trying unsuccessfully for 40 years. We the tax payers are not asking William Starks to be soft on crime by no means. We are asking him to use good judgment, Have a firm Hand and a forgiving heart like Christ has taught us. This is something Kitchens Has not done in the past 8 years or so. This is why its time for a change. Its time to bring sensible policy to District 16
stormy commented at 10/29/2010 3:22:00 AM:
bulldog99.. It is easy to say that I do not know about the justice system. However, I do work with drug and alcohol. I do not need to "march over to the records department in the circuit clerks office", I have seen the people themselves. It is easy for you to say that I am making false statements, have you talked to Judge Kitchens your self? Have you sit in on the trials? If as you say that only 2 out of 100 go before the jury, why do 98 of the people plea guilty?
bulldog99 commented at 10/29/2010 8:31:00 AM:
Stormy, First off I would like to say I think its great that you work for a alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. Drug rehabilitation and drug courts are the way to go. Sending people to prison for drugs is like spanking a baby and telling it to stop crying. It will not work.
Stormy to answer your question I have talked to Judge Kitchens. Many years ago when I was still in Law School at Tulane my old roommate and best friend from Mississippi State was in front of Judge Kitchens Courtroom. He was in his last semester at Mississippi State about to achieve his degree in Engineering. He didn't even had a speeding ticket on his record. His parents sent him to St. Christopher's Addiction Wellness Center in Baton Rouge several months before his court date. My friend took clean drug test for 6 months. When I served as a character witness for him in front of Judge Kitchens... This angered him. We were wasting the great judges time. When I was speaking of my friends charter living with him for 3 years, Judge Kitchens closed his eyes and put his hands on his temples... like I was boring him to death. My best friend, a productive citizen was sentenced to Mississippi Department of Corrections for 6 years for about $150 dollars of marijuana. Stormy is that Justice?
Stormy you also ask the question "why do 98 of the people plea guilty" Let me answer this for you. When you are issued and indictment several weeks later you should receive a plea bargain from the District Attorney. My friends Plea bargain was 10 years to MDOC. Trials are a very time consuming and expensive thing. When you take your case before a Jury you can expect to be sentenced to the maximum that your charge carried. My friends charged carried 0 to 30 years. Starkville court System has a 97.6 percent conviction rate. Stormy would you risk 30 years of your life on a 2.4 % chance of being found innocent? I sure as hell wouldn't. So what is your other option? Take the Plea or Open Plea. That is why, to answer your question.
This situations keeps happening again and again and again with this Judge. Hundreds of people could tell a story so similar to mine its frightening. Some of their stories make mine sound like Disneyworld the injustice they were served. District 16 is known all over the State for this.
I sit back as I grow older and think " I now know why Mississippi is the last in everything"
wpmedic1 commented at 10/29/2010 12:29:00 PM:
The comments made concerning Starks make me think he is more concerned with cutting convictions than making sure those that are guilty go to jail. I will be looking elsewhere and encourage others to do the same.
bulldog99 commented at 10/29/2010 2:32:00 PM:
Way to cast the first stone wpmedic1. That will solve everything. Lets send everybody guilty to jail. Load up the buses and send them all to Parchman. Williams Starks is pushing for Drug Courts which are proven to work. William Starks will also use good judment whether people belong in jail or not. You sound like you already have your mind made up. Good luck and enjoy the outrageous Taxes for paying over $20,000 a year per inmate. Have you not forgotten what Prison was designed for? It was designed for people who could not function in society and who are a threat to the general public.I also hope you or one of your loved ones never have to go in front of Judge Kitchens because he will not show one ounce of compassion after this election if he wins
stormy commented at 10/30/2010 5:20:00 AM:
Bulldog99, I am very sorry about your friend, I do not make the laws but I do follow them. I have seen with my own 2 eyes the distruction that marijuana can do, but very rarely do I see a drug test come back pos. for "only" THC. I am sure that I only see maybe not even 1% of the users out there, I am sure there are people who can smoke the stuff without any negative effects. Those are not the people I see, do you think there should be laws for some people and not others? How can you tell which people can not handle the drugs? I can tell you about a 17 year old boy (in the mid 1970's) whos hand I held when he came out of surgery and the doctors were telling his parents he was brain dead. The only drug in his system was THC and the ETOH was below the legal limit, yet he ran his car under a 18-wheeler just the same. It is now 2010 and I am still seeing lives torn apart by drugs and alcohol, not just the users, but the people who love them that have to watch them slowly kill themselves. The people who the users steal from, to be able to buy their drugs, the children, whos parents are more interested in their next buy than they are their children.
My only other comment would be, if Judge Kitchens keeps seeing the same faces showing up before him as many times as I see the same faces showing up before me, I understand that there is a time to put your foot down and say enough is enough and it is time to take the rap for your actions. How do you get it through to some people that have been in rehab 5 - 25 times and are still using? Could someone tell me the numbers on a person going into rehab only once and staying clean? I know it has been done, and I think the good Lord for it, but, I am sorry to say that is not the norm.
My belief is still that we need GOOD MEN such as Jim Kitchens to make the hard calls for us, God knows, it is not a job I would want.
bulldog99 commented at 10/30/2010 1:21:00 PM:
Well stormy you are going against ever piece of scientific evidence concerning marijuana from every long term study ever conducted. You are going off personal opinion and not factual evidence.I take when you say "I have seen the destruction that marijuana can cause" about as serious as Haley Barbour telling ME to exercise. Please show me the facts to this statement. Show me any data that says Marijuana causes destruction. Are you really saying that marijuana in somebodies system is the reason he ran under a 18 wheeler- come on, lets be realistic. In 5 days Marijuana is about to legalized,regulated and taxed in California with Proposition 19. Watch crime go down, Prison sentences will go down, Our law enforcement will be safer and statistically MJ use will go down. They will also receive millions upon millions in tax revenue. The other day in Baton Rouge a man was killed because he ran into a 18-wheeler. Nothing was in his system but his daily blood-pressure medicine. Should we make blood pressure medicine illegal? I do agree with you when you ask "what should we do with people who have been in rehab 5 or 6 times etc and given second and third chances by judges?". They do deserve to go to jail. Unfortunately Judge Kitchens has sent hundreds of MS State students,mothers,productive citizens to lengthy and cruel prison sentences when they have never been in trouble. Especially African Americans. All your comments are personal opinion in every comment you have posted on here, which I respect but are not factual. As for the family comments you made, What do you think happens to them when a Loved one is sent to prison for the first time they have ever been in trouble. Obviously your a Kitchens supporter and I cant change that ,but how can you call him a good man. A good man in my book doesn't send an innocent 8 year old to prison( Tyler Edmonds) along with many other botched cases and isn't being investigated for lying under oath.( Judge Mills)(State Judiciary Commission investigation) He doesn't take away a babies mother the first time she is caught with a petty drug and send her to 10 years in prison. A good man doesn't lock up College students for 20 years the first time they are in trouble.( hundreds to list) A good man doesn't sentence a child molester to 2 years in prison.(Disggohn, III) he sounds like a great man to me, Stormy?
1. Lynn Spruill: What they deserve LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Our View: Starkville aldermen pay raise is hard to justify DISPATCH EDITORIALS
3. Voice of the people: Jim Scrivener LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
4. Kathleen Parker: The GOP's clash of ridiculous cliches NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Our View: In the heat of summer our thoughts turn to ... water DISPATCH EDITORIALS