Three run for county prosecutor

Published 1:30 am Sunday, November 5, 2017

NATCHEZ — On Tuesday, every county voter will have the option to choose one of three county prosecutor candidates.

Bryan Callaway, Shameca Collins and Scott Pintard are all vying for the position, which represents the county in prosecution at Justice Court such as the District Attorney represents the state at Circuit Court.

The position is open after County Prosecutor Barret Martin retired before the end of his term earlier this year.

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Callaway said he is running because he believes the court needs credible people within it to make sure the system runs smoothly.

“I think I could fill that position,” Callaway said. “I think what people need today from government is for them to do what they were hired to do.

“If crimes are committed in the county, they want to know it will be handled properly.”

Collins said she is running to make Adams County a better place, like it was when she was growing up in the 1980s.

“I want it to be a good place to raise my 3-year-old son and a good place for others to raise their children and hopefully retire in,” Collins said. “Back then, there were more jobs and less people were leaving. You were proud to say you were from Natchez.”

Pintard said he has two reasons he is running. As a former police officer, he has always wanted to serve as a prosecutor rather than a defense attorney. Pintard also said more could be done within justice court to make the county drug court system run smoothly.

“I was a police officer before I went to law school, so it was kind of a switch to go the defense attorney route anyway,” Pintard said. “At drug court, it could be months before we receive the referral for candidates for the program. In the mean time, they are back on the streets doing what they do or in jail.”

As a prosecutor, Pintard said you have to be hard on people, but you also have to be understanding.

“First-time offenders should be treated differently than repeat offenders,” Pintard said. “The circumstances are very important to know why someone did something. Knowing why the crime was committed can also help society out.”

Collins said justice court is the criminal’s first look at the justice system in the county, and it has to be run smoothly.

“It sets the tone,” Collins said. “As far as misdemeanors, you hope you can give enough punishment so they don’t continue down the road that they were on. You hopefully deter them from becoming a felon.

“For those that come in with a felony, we can look at the criminal history, the facts and circumstances and use that to set a bond. We want to put pressure on them from the door, so they know you will not be able to get away with this in Adams County.”

Callaway said while the court does not receive as much attention as the district attorney’s office, almost every crime committed in the county starts in Justice Court.

“You have to make sure criminal cases are handled every step of the way appropriately,” Callaway said. “I want this community to be as safe as it was when I was growing up here.

“To get there, you have to trust that if a crime gets committed, it will be prosecuted right. I can do that.”

Collins said she is the right person for the job because she already has experience in the arena. Collins is the appointed municipal court prosecutor.

“My opponents have more legal experience, but neither has the experience I have when it comes to prosecuting,” Collins said. “The difference is I can go in on day one and already know how to do the job. I got more training last week at the prosecutor’s conference.”

Callaway said he has 27 years worth of litigation experience. Callaway said if you know the law and you know what evidence needs to be presented to make the case, then you can do the job.

“I have been in litigation my whole life,” Callaway said. “I have served on the bench in Justice Court when I was appointed to fill an empty position. I know what needs to be done to impose a just sentence.”

Pintard said he has 22 years of criminal defense work experience, so he knows how the defense attorney works as well as the prosecutor. Pintard said his law enforcement experience also gives him a better understanding to help improve the area’s law enforcement officers on what evidence they need to build a strong case.

“I have prosecuted before for Barret Martin when he had a conflict years ago,” Pintard said. “As a defense attorney, we know what a prosecutor has to do to prove their case.”