Wilkinson supervisors mull problem of fines

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2003

WOODVILLE &045; County supervisors discussed the chronic problem of delinquent justice court fines &045; reported at $798,037 last November &045; but took no formal action


Board Attorney Ron Senko told supervisors they could use the courts or a collection agency.

Email newsletter signup

Fourth District Supervisor Robert Morgan said justice court judges should send &uot;show cause&uot; orders to defendants to make them appear in court and explain why they have not paid their fines. Judges can hold delinquent defendants in contempt and order them to jail. &uot;That’s the way it’s really being done up in Adams County.

It’s not any novel approach to it.

It’s a system Š It’s a matter of getting it coordinated,&uot; Senko said.

The $798,037 represents only fines input since the justice court system was computerized in 1996. Many fines are owed by defendants who have died or who live outside Wilkinson County.

In March, Justice Court Judge Ernie Smith said he first wanted delinquent fines entered into a database. But justice court clerks, who are hired by the board, have said that job would require extensive overtime &045; which supervisors are currently asking department heads to limit. Supervisors are reviewing a proposed contract with Advantage Collections of Pascagoula to help collect delinquent fines &045; an issue they will take up July 7.