Two justice court judges pass state competency exam

Published 11:41 am Friday, December 23, 2011

Two Warren County Justice Court judges have passed the mandatory judicial competency exam, the Mississippi Judicial College announced Wednesday.

Central District Judge James Jefferson Jr. and Southern District Judge Jeff Crevitt were among the 45 judges statewide who completed an 80-hour instructional course Dec. 5 to 16 in Jackson and then took the six-hour, 240-question Minimum Competency Exam given at the college.

The exam included sections on civil law, criminal law and ethics, with questions covering various matters that come before Justice Court judges. A passing score required answering 70 percent of the questions correctly.

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The exam and training were primarily for newly elected judges or those appointed since 2008.

Mississippi law does not require Justice Court judges to be attorneys, but the Legislature has passed measures since 2007 to increase training requirements.

Crevitt was appointed to the bench in 2009 to fill a vacancy created by the death of his father, Joe Crevitt, a 12-year veteran. He is a former Warren County deputy and was elected to the bench in 2009.

Jefferson, appointed in 2009 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Richard Bradford III, and then elected to the post in 2010, is a funeral home director.

Northern District Judge Edwin Woods, an attorney, was elected in 2003.

Mississippi has 82 Justice Courts with 197 Justice Court judges. Justice Courts have jurisdiction over small claims civil cases, misdemeanor criminal cases and any traffic offense that occurs outside a municipality. Justice Court judges may conduct bond hearings and preliminary hearings in felony criminal cases and may issue search warrants and arrest warrants.