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Monday, September 22, 2014

Judicial candidates go head-to-head Tuesday

18th District Chancery Judge

Place Two

Ed Roberts Jr., incumbent

Roberts has served eight years as chancery judge in Lafayette County, along with 32 years in the military and retiring a two-star general. He has practiced law since 1972. He believes modernizing the court system and allowing for electronic filing of documents would speed up the docket and that courtroom security needs to be increased.

“My goals as your chancery judge have been to be fair, honest and impartial while serving the people of the 18th District and looking out for the best interest of children. Even though my affirmed opinion rate is 96.5 percent, there is no illusion on my part that all of my decisions are correct. I do my best to listen to the evidence, apply the law and when I do decide, I believe in my heart that I have made the right decision. Check me out. Ask about my reputation as a Christian, father, grandfather, veteran, lawyer, public servant and judge.”

Helen Kennedy Robinson

Robinson of Oxford believes her experience as a practicing attorney in chancery courts in multiple districts for 19 years, being a guardian ad litem and a mother of two makes her a good candidate. She believes decisions shouldn’t take weeks or months to be made after the court hearing or trials are over and that trial continuances should be limited.

“My experience in chancery court, as well as my experience as a mother, makes me the best choice for chancery judge. I will never lose sight of the impact any decisions made by me will have on your lives. All decisions rendered by me will be fair and impartial. The best interest in our children is very important to me. I do not hunt, fish or pursue other hobbies. Devoting my time to the citizens of the 18th Chancery District will be my first priority.”

3rd District Circuit Court

Place 2

Robert Elliott, incumbent

Elliott has practiced law for 40 year and is a retired lieutenant with the U.S. Navy. He is seeking his first re-election for place No. 2. He believes his hard work, dedication and experience makes him the best candidate. Elliott said the circuit court disposed of more than 1,500 criminal cases this year.

“I have the legal ability, experience and work ethic to be a good circuit judge. Explore the background and judicial records of both candidates; talk to your friends, attorneys, circuit court and law enforcement personnel and then vote for the candidate you believe will do the best job.”

Shirley Byers

Byers is the Marshall County prosecutor and has a private practice in Holly Springs. She previously served as a circuit judge in Greenville, where she was defeated for re-election in 1998. She believes there needs to be more courtroom security and claims she will help move along the busy docket by setting both the civil and court dockets simultaneously.

“The citizens of the 3rd District deserve a judge who is experienced; hardworking, dedicated and fair and who is guided by the slogan, ‘Justice is Blind.’ I appreciate the importance of moving the court’s dockets and making fair and impartial rulings. A vote for me is a vote for swift justice.”

Place Three

Dave Rozier

Rozier has practiced in civil and criminal law for 23 years and believes the circuit court could benefit from e-filing of court documents. He served as a municipal judge for 10 years and is a certified drug court judge. His firm, Rozier Hayes, has locations in Oxford and Southaven.

“After this election, the winner will no longer be an advocate for his clients. Rather, he will be charged with the duty of weighing the fact and applying the law to see that justice is served. This is no small task and it is one that begs for experience. As the only candidate in the race with judicial experience, I am the most qualified to serve as the next circuit judge.”

John Gregory

Gregory has served as an assistant district attorney for 30 years and as attorney for the Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors, city of Okolona and Okolona School District. He was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stokes V. Robertson from 1977-78. He is a former Ole Miss Rebel football player. He believes it takes hard work to move dockets along.

“I have qualified myself through avenues of experience and education which will benefit all who use our circuit court. My trial experience is extensive in both criminal and civil law. I will work hard for the people of this district and serve with honesty, integrity and fairness.”

Tom Levidiotis

Levidiotis earned his law degree at 40 years old and has worked as a public defender and prosecutor in the 3rd District. He says his primary goal in running is to stamp-out corruption on the bench. He believe a wider use of house arrest for non-violent offenders and drug court could help reduce the court docket.

“I am not a career politician and represent real change. I am energetic and am willing to debate the issues and answer live questions in each courthouse of the district. Being a trial judge means being able to think quickly and correctly and I am able to demonstrate my ability to do so.”

Court of Appeals

Position 2

Donna Barnes, incumbent

Barnes was appointed to the court of appeals in 2004 by Gov. Haley Barbour and elected in 2006 to remain in the position without opposition. She has authored more than 325 majority opinions and participated in more than 2,700 decisions. She worked as an attorney for 18 years in Tupelo before taking the bench.

“The person you choose to sit on the this court must be a person of learning, experience, courage and conviction, but of restraint. I have been, and will continue to be, that kind of person, that kind of judge … My experience, records and commitment to fairness prove I can provide a non-partisan, level playing field for all citizens who come before the court.”

Kelly Mims

Mims practices law in Lee County where he serves as the public defender. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard for 22 years. He believes the circuit court needs judges who understand what it means to work within a tight budget and tight time restraints.

“As a father and head of household, I know how to operate on a fixed income … I know what it’s like to work under pressure … We need judges who have actual courtroom experience, not just someone who has done legal research for insurance companies. I am the only candidate who has practiced criminal and chancery law, the two most frequently heard appeals the court handles.” (October 29, 2010)

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