Special constable vote will be on Nov. 5 ballots

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

[07/30/02]A special election will be on Nov. 5 ballots to replace the Warren County constable who pleaded guilty to extortion Friday.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors on Monday also set in motion a process to select a temporary appointee to the job of constable in the Central District.

J.L. Mitchell has held the job since 1986, but reached a plea agreement with Attorney General Mike Moore’s office to resign and pay a fine on a felony extortion indictment. Under the deal Circuit Judge Frank Vollor imposed no jail time.

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Mitchell admitted accepting $250 from the Monroe Court Apartments for timely service of court papers issued by the Warren County Justice Court. Constables are supposed to work for the fees they are paid and not demand more from businesses to assure better service.

Board attorney Randy Sherard said that since there is 90 days until the next regular vote, state law allows the special election to be called. U.S. House and Senate and state judicial elections will be on the same ballot.

The deadline for qualifying will be 60 days before the election, or Sept. 6. To seek the office, a candidate must reside in the district, the borders of which are still under review by the U.S. Justice Department. If elected, the candidate must complete the state Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Board President Richard George said the county will begin advertising Wednesday for applicants to fill the job on a temporary basis.

Applications will be accepted for a week and a decision will be announced Aug. 12, he said.

Constables are more or less independent law enforcement officers. They do not routinely engage in traffic control or criminal investigation work. Their main role is serving summonses, lawsuits and other court documents.