Crevitt: A career that spans from the street to the bench

Published 10:28 am Monday, January 4, 2016

All kinds of occupations wear uniforms, including law enforcement and judges who wear robes as they preside over the court. Many times lawyers advance their careers by becoming a judge, but in Jeff Crevitt’s case, his career was in law enforcement before he became a judge.

Crevitt has been the Justice Court Southern District judge in Warren County since 2009 when he was appointed to the position by the Board of Supervisors to finish his father’s term after he died. He was then formally elected in a special election, and he said he has gone through two elections since then unopposed.

“It kind of makes you feel good,” Crevitt said. “Evidently you must be doing something right because nobody is coming out against you.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Justice court is a small claims civil court that hears claims up to $3,500 and deals with initial hearings in felony cases and all misdemeanor offences, he said, which are lesser crimes, like a DUI or assault, compared to felonies. Crevitt can also issue search warrants to officers who need to search someone’s property for evidence and arrest warrants to place a person under arrest, he said.

One thing people don’t understand about his job, he said, is that he can’t discuss cases with people before they come to court. Sometimes he said people will come to him for advice, but because of the code of ethics he is not able to hear anything about a case beforehand.

“I have to cut them off,” Crevitt said.

Sometimes rulings can be difficult, he said, but his training in law enforcement helps him to leave work at work and not think about the cases too much at home.

“I try to leave all of that at the office, which there’s a few cases that I worked in law enforcement that haunted me and still do,” Crevitt said.

Crevitt started his law enforcement career with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in 1987 as a process server who delivered legal documents, he said. A year later he became a patrol deputy where he said he dealt with wrecks and other small cases. In 1996, he said he moved into investigations where he started working burglaries, grand larcenies and murders among other types of cases.

In the last seven years of his time in law enforcement, starting in 2002, Crevitt said he specialized in drugs and was sworn in under a taskforce status with the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs.

“I did some undercover, purchasing drugs a little bit all over Mississippi, Louisiana, little bit of everywhere,” Crevitt said. “With the Drug Enforcement Administration, I didn’t have a jurisdiction.”

He got his meth lab certification in Quantico, Va. where he was trained to break down meth labs. Over the years he said he was a part of working several hundred meth labs.

“[Being a part of DEA] broadens your access to a lot of different things like training,” Crevitt said.

He said he received over 700 hours of training during his career. Once he became a judge he said he received more training with the Mississippi Judicial College, which helped him understand certain things he never knew when he dealt with the court system as an officer — like the defendant’s rights, even without an attorney.

He said he wanted to be a judge for the same reasons he joined law enforcement, to help people and better the community.

“It’s still part of trying to give to the community,” Crevitt said. “I help those that I can help.”