Population increase allows Lafayette County to have a County Court

Published 3:02 pm Monday, February 28, 2022

Earlier this year, Gov. Tate Reeves signed a proclamation creating a County Court in Lafayette County, but what does that mean for our county?

Once a county’s population grows to more than 50,000, the county can have a County Court. These courts have exclusive jurisdiction over matters of eminent domain, juvenile proceedings and other court matters.

“It benefits our county by distributing the case load,” said Lafayette County Circuit Clerk Jeff Busby. “For our residents, cases will be processed faster and funds from the County Court system will go towards Lafayette’s general fund.”

The County Court will share jurisdiction with Circuit and Chancery Courts in civil matters but is limited to matters of up to $200,000. County Courts also handle non-capital felony cases transferred from Circuit Court. County Courts have shared jurisdiction with Justice Courts in all matters—civil and criminal.

County Court judges serve four-year terms and are chosen in non-partisan elections. They have the same requirements as a Circuit Judge and can issue search warrants, set bond and preside over preliminary hearings.

Nominees for County Court Judge have been selected and an election will be held in November. The nominees are as follows: Carnelia Fondren, Preston Ray Garrett, Steven Patrick Jubera, James B. Justice, Tiffany Kilpatrick, Christine B. Tatum, Joshua Aaron Turner and Thomas Alan Waller.

The Court will be located in Courthouse and the Circuit Clerk’s office will maintain records and help with court proceedings. If you have any questions about the County Court and its proceedings, call the Circuit Clerk’s office at (662) 234-4951.