Three candidates seek Justice Court North District seat

Published 9:35 am Monday, November 2, 2015

Voters living the area of Warren County included in Justice Court North District will face a choice of three candidates when they go to the polls Tuesday.

Warren County has three justice court districts, South, Central and North. The incumbent judges in the South and Central districts are unopposed.

Justice court judges hear cases involving misdemeanors offenses, hold preliminary hearings on felony cases, can perform marriage ceremonies, rule on citations, or tickets, from various law enforcement agencies, and hear civil cases where the maximum claim for damages is $2,500.

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In the North District race, incumbent Judge Edwin “Eddie” Woods Jr., a Republican, faces a challenge from two independent candidates, Henry Earl Phillips and Dennis McLain Walker.

Phillips said he has been “very pleased” at the outpouring of support he has received during his campaign for judge.

“[Tuesday] is a date for change, a date that will allow the scales of justice to weigh with equity one again,” he said, adding he looks forward to being elected judge and implementing field trips to the court for students to discourage them from becoming involved in crime, and to give them a look at their possible future,” Phillips said. “I believe God will allow me to become judge on this date to do everything I can to advance students to become everything they can be in life and avoid crime,” he said.

Phillips said he also anticipates working with other local officials to create a place where children can go after school, have fun, and avoid the threat of negative consequences.

Walker said his campaign was “ going as I expected this is my first election …. I want thank all the people who supported me and all the people I’ve spoken with.”

Walker believes it is important for a justice court judge to practice law in the community where he lives.

“I’m a practicing attorney here in Warren County. That’s where my office is, and that’s where I live.

I do believe it’s important, given the gravity of some of the cases and the things a justice court judge has to consider, that they actually be a lawyer,” Walker said. “I know we have two judges who are not lawyers, and they do a great job, but there are certain things concerning our constitutional rights I think attorneys know better than a lay person.”

For Woods, who has served as justice court just for more than 11 years, said his experience is what he believes will carry him to success Tuesday.

“I feel it has been a great privilege to be able to serve as a judge, and we’ve been meeting people as possible, talking about my experience and telling them to go out and exercise their right to vote,” Woods said. “I feel experience is very important for this job. Justice court is a busy court and it probably impacts more people than our other two courts in the county. I think that experience and knowledge of our justice court system and to be able to work in a busy courtroom is very important.”

Polls in Warren County open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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