Prentiss is candidate for justice court seat

Published 12:30 am Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beverly D. Prentiss, a 29-year veteran of the Vicksburg Police Department, has announced her candidacy for justice court judge of the central district.

Prentiss joins incumbent judge and funeral director James E. Jefferson Jr.; retired police Lt. Dora Smith; former constable Rudolph Walker; former U.S. Navy officer Henry Phillips; and NRoute operations manager Audrey Jones Jackson in the race. Lester R. Smith, who is in the Warren County Jail on sexual battery and felony escape charges, also is a candidate.

Jefferson was appointed to the post by county supervisors in October 2009 after former judge Richard Bradford resigned.

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Prentiss, 54, is a police sergeant supervising the community relations division. She is currently an investigator in the domestic violence unit. She has served in several capacities during her tenure, including patrol watch commander, DARE officer, crime prevention specialist and senior citizen advocate with Triad. She has organized National Night Out parties, and supervised, implemented and coordinated neighborhood watches.

Prentiss is a graduate of the Oakland, Calif., school system with three years of college. She graduated from the Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pearl, and has received special training in law enforcement issues such as domestic violence, rape crisis counseling, crime prevention, MADD, court testimony and victim assistance programs.

She is married to Albert Prentiss Jr. and has four children. She is a member of Zion Travelers Church, past board member of Riverfest and Envogue social and civic club.

Justice Court judges hear small-claims cases of up to $3,500, misdemeanor criminal cases and any traffic offenses occurring outside city limits. They also conduct bond hearings and preliminary hearings in felony criminal cases, and have the authority to issue search warrants. Justice court judges are not required to possess a law degree, but they must complete state training programs.

In Mississippi, salaries for justice court judges depend on county populations. In Warren County, the position pays $40,075 annually. Warren County has three Justice Court seats. Eddie Woods has held the Northern District spot since 2003, and Jeff Crevitt was elected from the Southern District in 2009.