Interim judge sworn into office

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 3, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Call it swift justice.

On Monday morning, Adams County supervisors voted to install local attorney Bryan H. Callaway as a justice court judge to replace former Judge Danny Barber, who quit that post to run for sheriff.

Within five hours, Justice Court Judge Charles Vess was swearing Callaway in as judge with court employees and Callaway’s family and friends standing by.

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Actually, being in justice court is not a new experience for Callaway. As an attorney for 13 years in his native Natchez, Callaway represented many clients before the court’s judges.

While he seemed a little nonplussed by all the attention, Callaway said he believes he can do a good, fair job filling Barber’s unexpired term.

&uot;I hated to see Judge Barber leave &045; I think he did a good job,&uot; said Callaway, adding that he hopes to do the job with &uot;level-headedness.&uot;

&uot;But it’s an honor and a privilege that’s been bestowed on me,&uot; he said.

Vess said that with he and Judge Mary Lee Toles now handling the number of cases designed for three judges, &uot;we’re anxious to get him (Callaway) in here. And we have a full docket waiting on him.&uot;

Meanwhile, a bill that would allow Adams County to keep all three of its justice court judge seats and all three constable seats will fail unless the House County Affairs and Fees and Salaries committees pass it by the end of today.

The bill passed the Senate two weeks ago, said state Sen. Bob Dearing, D-Natchez.

Based on census figures, the county’s population dropped from 35,356 in 1990 to 34,340 in 2000. Under state law, counties will fewer than 35,000 people can only have two justice court judges.

How the county’s justice court judge and constable lines will be redrawn depends on whether that bill passes, said Board of Supervisors Attorney Bob Latham.

Meanwhile, candidates have already qualified to run this fall for constable and justice court judge based on the old three-district lines.

&uot;So we’ll be campaigning, but we don’t know where,&uot; Vess told supervisors.