Lafayette County residents will vote to elect the county’s first County judge on Nov. 8.
Eight local attorneys have qualified to run for the new seat. They include Steve Jubera, James B. Justice, Cornelia Fondren, Thomas A. Waller, Josh Turner, Ray Garrett, Tiffany Kilpatrick and Christine Tatum.
Over the next few days, Hotty Toddy News will be running profiles of each candidate, along with their answers to three questions that were presented to them.
Profile information was provided by each candidate to the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s Office and is also listed on the Election page of the Lafayette County website.
Preston Ray Garrett is the son of Betty Waldrop Garrett and Dexter Ray Garrett. His mother retired from teaching Home Economics and his father retired from Ram Golf. In his youth Garrett spent his summers working on the family farm, riding horses and fishing As avid outdoorsmen, Garrett and his father spent the fall and winter quail hunting.
After high school, Garrett enrolled at Ole Miss and earned a bachelor’s degree with a triple major in history, English and political science. While a student he worked at the Ole Miss Bookstore and Walmart.
After completing his undergraduate studies Garrett was accepted into the dual Law School / Masters of Business Administration Program at Ole Miss and graduated in 1995 with both his law degree and MBA. While at Ole Miss Garrett was active in the Ole Miss Wesley Foundation where he formed lifelong friendships and later served on the Board of Directors for the Ole Miss Wesley Foundation.
While in law school Garrett worked as a law clerk for Charles Walker and Bill Rogers and after graduating law school Garrett established his own law practice sharing office space with Mr. Walker and Mr. Rogers for several years. Garrett later formed Garrett and Friday, PLLC with his partner, Meredith Friday. Rebecca Garner and Jesse McRoight later joined the firm and it is now Garrett, Friday, Garner & McRight, PLLC.
Since 1995 Garrett has practiced law in the areas of criminal law, domestic relations, Youth Court matters, property law, small claims, landlord-tenant matters as well as general civil litigation.
Garrett and his wife, Marica Palmer Garrett who is a nurse practitioner, have been married since 2001. Garrett and Marica along with their two children, Victoria and Alexander, continue to reside in Lafayette Springs only one mile from the home in which Garrett grew up. They are members of First Baptist Church of Oxford. Garrett has served on the Lafayette County Planning Commission for the past six years and is the current chair of the Lafayette County Planning Commission.
1. Why are you running for County Court Judge?
I view this as a chance to serve the citizens of our community. I want to give Lafayette County a fair and efficient County Court which is why I have only promised people two things. First, if elected I will be at work every morning when the courthouse doors open, and second I will do the best job I can for them. I have the experience and qualifications to handle any case that County Court will have jurisdiction over and I am asking our citizens to give me the opportunity to do the job right.
2. What makes you the best candidate?
I opened my own practice in Oxford in 1995 and it has now grown to be Garrett, Friday, Garner & McRight, PLLC. My practice has given me experience in every area of law that will come before our County Court. As a Christian American citizen who still lives one mile from his childhood home, I have the same interest in safe communities and a fair efficient County Court as everyone else living here. it is those values and interests that will guide me if I am elected as Lafayette County’s first County Court Judge.
3. With this being a new court for the county what do you hope to accomplish with the position if elected:
As of the September docket call there were over 300 criminal felony cases awaiting trial in Lafayette County as well as numerous civil cases. Any of these criminal cases that are not a capital crimes or do not exceed $200,000 can be transferred to County Court. I want to address this backlog so our citizens do not have to wait an extended time to have their cases resolved. County Court will also have exclusive jurisdiction over youth court matters. I want to give our citizens a County Court that addresses matters of youth crimes and children in bad home situations the right way.