By Alyssa Schnugg
For the first time, Lafayette County will have a County Court after the election Tuesday when voters will elect the first County Court Judge.
Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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.
However, if no candidate receives 50+ percent of the vote, the top two candidates with the most votes will go face-to-face in a runoff election on Nov. 29.
The county was approved for a County Court after the 2020 Census showed the county’s population was more than 50,000. The new County Court will be held inside the Lafayette County Courthouse.
According to the State Mississippi Judiciary’s website, County Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over eminent domain proceedings and juvenile matters, among other things. In counties that have a County Court, a County Court judge also serves as the Youth Court judge. County Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit and Chancery Courts in some civil matters.
The jurisdictional limit of County Courts is up to $200,000. County Courts may handle non-capital felony cases transferred from Circuit Court. County Court judges may issue search warrants, set bond and preside over preliminary hearings. County Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with Justice Courts in all matters, civil and criminal.
The County Judge’s race is nonpartisan.
Lafayette County residents living inside the Oxford School District area will have one contested school board race on their ballots.
Incumbent Ramona Reed will face Ashley Conner Wilkinson on Tuesday. School board members Jamie Anderson and Kimberly Harwell East are running unopposed.
There is only one contested race for the Third Circuit Court Judge race on Tuesday.
Shirley Byers has qualified to run against Judge Kelly Luther. It won’t be the first time the two have gone head-to-head. Byers has run and lost against Luther twice since 2014. It will be the third time their names will appear together on a ballot.
Judges Gray Tollison and Kent Smith have no opponents.
U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) is running against Democrat opponent Dianne Black in the 1st Congressional District race.
In the race for Chancery Judge in Lafayette County, both Judge Larry Little and Bob Whitwell are running unopposed.
Circuit Court of Appeal Judge for District 1 Jim Greenlee is also unopposed.
LAFAYETTE COUNTY VOTING PRECINCTS
- Oxford 1 – MS State Extension Office – (70 FD Buddy East Parkway)
- Denmark-Lafayette Springs – (11 CR 287 – Fire Station #11 Lafayette Springs)
- Yocona – (826 Hwy. 334 – Yocona Community Center)
- Oxford 2 – Conference Center – (102 Ed Perry Blvd. – Oxford Conf. Center)
- Philadelphia – Hwy 30 East – (1303 Hwy. 30 East Etta – Phil. Community Ctr)
- Oxford 3 – Stone Center – (423 Washington Ave. – Stone Rec. Center)
- Abbeville – (62 CR 106 – Springfield MB Church)
- College Hill – (10 CR 130 – College Hill Community Center)
- Taylor – (78 First Street – Taylor Community Center)
- Oxford 4 – (14 Tommie Collie Jane Rd. – Lafayette Civic Club)
- Anchor/Taylor – (177 CR 376 Water Valley – Green’s Shop – Hwy. 7 South)
- Burgess – (46 CR 313 Oxford – Clear Creek Baptist Church)
- Harmontown – (599 Hwy. 310 Como Fire Station #1 – Harmontown)
- Union West – (823 CR 313 – Fire Station #16)
- Oxford 5 – VOTING PRECINCT 501 (101 Ctr Ridge Drive – Old Health Department – Hwy 7 South)
- Airport Grocery – (15 CR 369 7 South 7/9 Split-Fire Station #3)
- Paris – (31 CR 430 Paris Fire Station #14)
- Tula – (153 CR 436 Oxford – Tula Fire Station #6)