Dent to be interim justice court judge

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 1, 2003

[04/01/03]Former Vicksburg Police Chief Mitchell L. Dent was named Monday to a nine-month term as Northern District Justice Court judge.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors selected Dent out of seven people who applied to fill the office vacated by incumbent Richard Smith when he filed to run for district attorney.

Among those not selected were the four candidates for the post. They are local attorney W.B. Duggins Jr., 75, former Vicksburg police officer Greg Kurtz, 36, local attorney Edwin Woods, 38, and police officer Billy Jeffers, 35. One of them will be chosen by voters to succeed Dent on Jan. 1.

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Dent, 47, is a 19-year veteran of the Vicksburg Police Department and was its chief for 19 months, from February 2000 to September 2001. He took over after Charles Chisley retired and was succeeded by Tommy Moffett, who took office Oct. 3, 2001.

Justice courts have jurisdiction in all civil cases involving amounts of $2,500 or less. They also handle many preliminary matters in felony cases and have full jurisdiction in misdemeanor cases.

Smith, 44, has served as Northern District justice court judge since 1999 and has been in private law practice in Vicksburg for nearly 10 years. He will challenge incumbent Gil Martin, 58, for the 9th District DA’s post that includes Warren, Sharkey and Issaquena counties.

Only attorneys may serve as district attorneys or in other judgeships. Justice court judges are usually not attorneys.

The other two attorneys who had asked to be named interim judge were Patricia Peterson Smith, who refuses to tell her age; and Municipal Court Judge J. Allen Derivaux Jr., 48.

In other matters the board:

Recognized Angel Spivey, Miss Mississippi Rodeo 2003.

Approved new road names at Ceres and off China Grove Road.

Approved funding from the Warren County Port Commission for a Corps of Engineers’ study of expanding the harbor project. The approval was contingent on entering an agreement with the Corps and the funds are part of a federal grant.

Named L.W. “Bump” Callaway III Warren County Homeland Security coordinator.