HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A new municipal court judge will be sworn in later this week in the Hub City.
Forrest County Justice Court Judge Wes Curry will replace Judge Jerry Evans starting October 2nd as the new municipal judge.
Curry will hold both judge positions after a ruling from the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's office.
"Because both positions are in the judicial branch of government, a person can serve in both positions at the same time without violating the separation of powers doctrine," according to Hood's opinion. "Obviously he would have to keep the positions separate."
"I'm looking forward to getting into the municipal court and seeing what I can do to help make things better," Curry said. "One of the things Mayor Barker said is we want to have the best municipal court in the state and I'm committed to making sure that that happens."
Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said there is still more changes to come for the city court.
"I think folks know that we came a long way in five years, under Judge Evans, but there's still several challenges that face us in our municipal court system," said Barker.
Mayor Barker said without a doubt, Judge Curry is the man for the job.
"What Judge Curry brings to the table is judicial experience, he knows how to operate a courtroom, he knows how to move a docket along, he knows how to bring an idea that court should be more than just a revenue generator, it should be a place where people are empowered to make better decisions," said Barker.
Barker added that the city is getting the power of two judges, Curry and Brian Bledsoe (pro tem) for the same amount that Judge Evans was making. Curry will make $70,000 and Bledsoe will make $30,000.
"I've done some research, but got to get boots on the ground to see what the situation is like is before you can begin making major changes," Curry said. "I grew up here in Hattiesburg, and to have the opportunity to serve the city and the people that I've grown up knowing, I'm just very excited about that."