Supervisors must step in to court clash

Published 12:04am Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Clearly something is wrong in Adams County’s Justice Court office.

Apparently millions of dollars of court fines have been accruing over the years and, as best we can tell, little has been done to aggressively collect the fines.

To date, much of what’s been done seems to be simply turning over a list to a collection agency.

But that process misses an even greater opportunity — the court system is the best collection system we know, at least when used properly.

While a collection agency may irritate a debtor to death, the court system’s power is much greater.

Courts have the power to drag a debtor before a judge and make them pay up or face further penalties.

The challenge in Adams County appears to be getting the various parts of the puzzle on the same page.

First, only one of the two Justice Court judges is highly vocal about the need for the collections work.

Second, the judge that is interested — Judge Charlie Vess — says he’s not getting cooperation from Justice Court Clerk Audrey Bailey.

Unfortunately the matter has become personal with Bailey threatening — in open court — to sue Vess over the matter.

Adams County supervisors have stepped in and tried to make peace. Supervisors appoint the clerk, while judges are elected.

Supervisors are wise to get involved. The last thing Adams County needs is to have the court clerk sue a judge.

But what’s worse than that would be to stand by and let any stone go unturned in the effort to ensure all fines owed to the court are collected — regardless of who is at fault.

County citizens deserve to have the money owed to them collected in a timely fashion.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    My opinion is if Bailey don’t take it to court Judge Vess should sue Bailey so its in a court of law with everything on the table to expose all what has happened on why the 4 million dollars in fines were not collected!! Bailey should be on administrative leave without pay till a court plea for this looks criminal in nature!! But also the two judges need to go ahead with full speed ahead and start collecting fines and filling the jail cells!! Also, why hasn’t the BOS gave a closed door talk to the Judge Vess as they did with Bailey?? The buzzards are circling the BOS office with a bad smell from not collecting taxpayers money makes it look bad!! Pickering the state auditor needs to come check the math on this office??!!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the Editorial. FYI still waiting for that apology so I can conduct the courts business. It matters not if the Chief Clerk has any personal dislike for me as an individual. Any judicial office though should not be subjected to insubordination by anyone. This should especially be true for an employee with 17 years on the job and a department head. Also, some of the debt happened before Ms. Bailey was selected. However under her watch it has been allowed to grow, and grow, and grow!! While it is true many fines can be collected when a person is found guilty, probably 75 percent of the money owed is without a judge seeing the defendant. Collecting those fines are important too and should be looked at closely. I stand ready to assist in anyway and appreciate anything the BOS can do to help me!! Judge Charlie Vess aka Redsail

  • Anonymous

    YOU WANT TO BE THE MAYOR SO BAD I BET YOU CAN TASTE IT. YOU GOT YOUR N… OFF ON THAT ARTICLE ABOUT JUDGE SANDERS. YOU ARE ALL UP AND DOWN IN THAT COMMENT SECTION LIKE A CHILD ON XMAS MORNING. THE *JUDGE ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE* UNTIL SHE’S READY. GROW-UP-YOU LITTLE-WIMP.