City of Selma may pursue full-time judge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The City of Selma is reconsidering the way it handles the municipal court judgeship.

The City Council discussed hiring a full-time judge to fill a need in the city’s court system at Monday’s meeting, the court has been operating with two part-time judges

Mayor James Perkins Jr. said the city’s municipal court system has had a lot of problems.

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“The city has operated with part-time municipal judges for quite some time,” Mayor James Perkins Jr. said. “It has proved to be inefficient. Many fines and fees are not being collected because they (the current judges) are trying to manage the court by telephone.”

Perkins said that because the judges convene court once a week, they have to manage the rest of the court’s business while working their regular jobs.

Perkins recommended hiring at least one full-time judge, and either another part-time or full-time judge.

He suggested the council form a committee to begin the screening process. He said that some local attorneys had been contacted but that only a few attorneys in Selma are willing to work full-time as a municipal judge.

“Many attorneys in the area are not interested,” Perkins said.

Several council members agreed with Perkins.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said the municipal court needed a change.

“Really, it’s an overbearing kind of court,” she said. “I would like to see a change in position.”

Council President George Evans delegated the screening process to the public safety committee. Councilwoman Jean Martin agreed to sit on the committee and help.

Councilman Johnny Leashore Jr. said the entire council should review the process, rather than in a committee.

Evans said it would be difficult for the council to get involved and that the committee would have no power over the final decision.

“This committee would basically set up a time where all of us can be part of an interview process,” Evans said.