Judge finds Hattiesburg mayor in contempt of court

Judge finds Hattiesburg mayor in contempt of court

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Special appointed Judge Breland Hilburn found Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree in civil contempt of court Thursday for not bringing his department head nominees to the city council in a timely manner.

Hilburn said he was "disturbed that the court has to get to this posture" and ordered the mayor to return on May 21 to show reason for him not to be found in contempt; otherwise, DuPree will be held in custody of the Forrest County Sheriff Department.

Outgoing city attorney Charles Lawrence said he was disappointed in the judge's ruling, since the mayor has brought forward nominees for all 17 positions, although the council has filled all but one. Attorney Robert Gholson, who represented Council President Kim Bradley and Ward 3 Councilman Carter Carroll said the mayor obliged to his mayoral duties in this matter only after the judge previously ordered him to present those nominees to the council.

Lawrence said he expected DuPree to present a chief of police nominee to the council at the next meeting on May 19. If the council approves that candidate, all positions will be filled.

The mayor was sworn into this term in October 2013.