Supreme Court restores Hosemann to judge’s bench

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

[07/27/02]The Mississippi Supreme Court restored Warren County Court Judge Gerald Hosemann to the bench Friday, ending a two-month lag since a criminal case against him was resolved.

The court acted on receipt of a response from the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance, which said it no longer opposed Hosemann’s petition to get his job back.

Hosemann, 50, has been the Warren County Court and Youth Court judge for 16 years. He was suspended from hearing cases April 24 and remained so despite the dismissal of both the Hinds County felony indictment on which his suspension was based and the commission’s complaints against him.

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“I look forward to being restored the honor and privilege to serve the people of Warren County for 16 years,” Hosemann said. “And I believe and trust that the people of Warren County have read between the lines and realized what I’ve been through, and I’m going to ask them for the honor and privilege of continuing to serve them as I’ve done and my record indicates.”

With the most recent of Hosemann’s three requests that the court return him to the bench, he filed a copy of a July 9 commission order that, while dismissing its complaints against him, specifically reserved the right to reopen the case.

The Supreme Court on Thursday noted ambiguities in that order, saying it appeared the commission “still has under consideration the facts and activities underlying these complaints.” It further noted that the commission, which meets in private, had filed with the court neither that order nor, as it had to each of Hosemann’s previous two petitions, a response to his July 12 request.

The court ordered that the commission answer those concerns by noon Friday and, after the commission did so by filing its order and response, terminated Hosemann’s suspension.

By separate order the court relieved effective at 5 p.m. Friday Sam Habeeb, 33, of his duties as Special Judge during Hosemann’s suspension. Habeeb’s second consecutive two-month appointment was to end Sept. 1 unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Hosemann was arraigned April 22 on an indictment for aggravated assault. He was accused of beating and leaving on his Hinds County land his former court reporter Juanita “Nita” Johnston, 48. He has maintained his innocence throughout.

Missing since Dec. 4, Johnston was found injured there Dec. 6 and spent more than a month in hospitals in Vicksburg and Jackson.

After identifying Hosemann as her attacker to Hinds authorities who filed a sworn affidavit that led to Hosemann’s Dec. 28 arrest, Johnston said in March that she loved Hosemann and the charges should be dismissed because he did not and could not have injured her.

Hinds authorities nonetheless sought and obtained the indictment that was dismissed after Hosemann pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace.

Hosemann’s elective term expires Dec. 31. He is a candidate for re-election and has four challengers in the general election set for Nov. 5.