State judicial raises help level the fieldPublished 12:01am Sunday, February 17, 2013
Picking on government is easy — on almost every level.
Government can rarely do most things as well as the private sector does.
In most instances, government is too big, bulky and inefficient to compete against the private sector on most tasks.
But in some instances we have no other choice — the government must perform an essential task.
Such is the case with our judicial system in which the federal, state and local government must hire prosecutors and judges to work on behalf of the taxpaying public to fairly and swiftly prosecute and process civil and criminal court proceedings.
The sad truth is the government attorneys often face higher-paid, private sector opponents across the courtroom.
The result can sometimes appear as if the guilty walk free particularly if they can afford the very best defense team.
That’s why we were happy the State of Mississippi attempted to level the field a bit recently with a new law that added pay raises for some judges and prosecutors.
Leveling the pay differential may be needed, but we hope one day, however, state lawmakers will consider two more great additions to the judicial system — performance standards and a guarantee of new blood.
A more strict system of public performance reviews for judges — not just when they’re found breaking the law and it’s too late — may help make judges and prosecutors more accountable to the public.
Term limits for judges would also go a long way toward fixing a big problem in rural areas such as Adams County — few smart attorneys are willing to run against a strong incumbent judge or prosecutor because if they lose, they’ll still have to stand before the winning judge and that’s never a good place to be.