JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Election Day is less than two weeks away. In Jones County, voters will see four names on the ballot in a special election for justice court judge for district 2.
In July, the vacant seat for the Jones County Justice Court judge position was appointed to attorney Noel A. Rogers by the Jones County Board of Supervisors. Rogers is currently serving at the interim justice court judge and says he plans to continue serving the remaining three years, if elected.
“I think the board of supervisors felt confident that I could step in and fulfill the role of justice court judge," Rogers said. "And I think they had the confidence in me, and I think as a result, the voters of Jones County can have that same confidence, that I will be fair and treat everyone impartially and make fair rulings based on the law.”
In the race is also Marian Allen, who has worked as a social worker for more than 25 years, serving in various court rooms. Allen says she is compassionate and has plenty of experience in solving problems.
“The justice court judge once was known as ‘justice of the peace,’” Allen said. “So, as justice of the peace you are there to make common-sense decisions for the people of Jones County. So therefore, as a servant leader, I’m a servant of the people because I’ll be working for the people and I’m accustomed to being a servant because I come from a ministerial background.”
Jack Armstrong is another candidate in this special election. Armstrong is an auctioneer, has his own gospel quartet and has been in law enforcement for 15 years. He says his 11 years of experience as a deputy sheriff for Jones County best qualifies him for the position.
“We’re in justice court all the time dealing with people,” Armstrong said. “Justice court is the people’s court, that’s where people go for help and that’s where the sheriff’s department was at. Out of 198 justice court judges in the state of Mississippi, only 34 have a law degree. Common sense, common sense approach is what people need in justice court and that’s what I bring to the table.”
Sonny Saul is also in the race and also has experience in law enforcement. Saul was in law enforcement for more than 30 years, with 25 of those serving with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. He is retired now, but says as a state trooper, he spent more time in justice court than attorneys do.
“Justice court judge is the one judicial seat that does not require a law degree,” Saul said. "While some people think a lawyer should have that seat, I strongly disagree. To me, common sense and experience are more valuable than a law degree. My law enforcement experience and common-sense approach to conflict I believe qualifies me to be the next justice court judge district 2, and I humbly ask for your vote on Nov. 3.
In July, Gov. Tate Reeves appointed Billie Graham as judge for the 19th Chancery Court District, which in turn created the vacancy in Jones County and is why a special election is being held in November.