State auditor confident in demand issued against Jones County circuit judge

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The state auditor said Wednesday that his office is confident in the data collected and the demand issued against Judge Billy Joe Landrum.

"We do expect that money to be paid back to the citizens and to the local government in Jones County and we will hold him accountable for that at the appropriate time," said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. 

The investigation into Judge Landrum's use of funds from his community service program is ongoing. Currently his case is being reviewed by three separate agencies. The Jones County District Attorney's Office is still looking over a summary report from the state auditor's office which points out 14 possible criminal violations. Those 14 counts involve trips made in-state and out of state by Judge Landrum. Improper use of county vehicles is something Pickering says his office has dealt with before.

"We've had those exact same issues in the past on individuals who either pled guilty or were found guilty if they went to trial from issues of public funds," said Pickering.

Pickering said if the D.A.'s office puts together a case to go before a grand jury to get an indictment, certain issues will have to be addressed because it does involve a judge.

"I think you're going to have to have the court administrator in Jackson, the Mississippi Supreme Court may have to address some of the processes in this case as it moves forward," said Pickering. "Even the civil trial of the money, the demand that my office issued, at the appropriate time we will have to file suit on that to recover those funds."

Pickering said all his office along with the district attorney's office and the Judicial Performance Commission need to work together for the next step to take place in this case.

"Everybody is innocent until proven guilty and everybody will have their day in court ultimately on the facts that we have presented, but we are very confident in the data, the facts that we have put together in the demand that we issued against Judge Landrum," said Pickering.

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