Long-term Adams County judge considers retirementPublished 12:09am Friday, January 11, 2013
NATCHEZ — A long-term fixture in Adams County’s judiciary says he’s considering retiring in the next six months.
But at the same time, he won’t be going anywhere.
Justice Court Judge Charlie Vess said that during the last 22 years, he has presided over 30,000 cases.
Now, he’s looking to retire and still work part-time as a judge.
“I have been on the bench for 22 years, but with all my state service I have got over 29 years of service,” Vess said. “I found out that if I was to put in for my retirement, I would not have to put in my job as a judge, so I could go to 25 percent pay and save the taxpayers on a lot of money on the other part of it.”
The judge said the plan would likely have him taking home more money at the end of the day, which makes it a win-win.
“It’s a way of saving money for the taxpayers,” he said. “With me getting into the retirement system a little early, I will be paying the lion’s share of my salary.”
Justice court is the initial stop for all criminal matters, be they major or minor. Some cases are tried there, others are kicked up to circuit court. Judges in justice court also hear civil cases.
If he retires, Vess said rather than doing the half-day sessions for non-felony crimes and whole-day sessions for felonies over which he currently presides, he will schedule whole-days for everything, but fewer times a month.
In addition to saving money for the taxpayers and possibly taking a little more himself, Vess said he’s considering retirement because the job hasn’t been getting any easier.
“It has been a long run on the bench, and it is no doubt people would say the job has a stressful side to it,” he said.
“The judiciary has taken some pretty bad bashes in the last couple of years, with people even saying that justice court is corrupt. I want to throttle back on my time because I don’t want to be considered part of that system. If the community is being distrustful of the judiciary, I don’t feel that is fair to the court as a whole.”
Retiring now would also allow him to have some income should he decide to run for another office later down the road, Vess said.
A judge running for any office other than judge must first resign his or her position on the bench.
While Vess said he has considered a future run for another office, he has no specific plans or office in mind at this point.