Judge Maher to run for re-election

Published 11:40 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Special to the democrat

NATCHEZ – Honorable Eileen Mary Maher announces her bid for re-election as the Judge of Adams County Justice Court, Southern District in the primary election August 6, 2019.

“It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Adams County since my election as Justice Court Judge. I look forward to continuing my service,” Maher said. “I take this position very seriously, and have strived to adhere to my motto: Fairness for all.”

Email newsletter signup

Maher’s vision for Adams County includes the establishment of a Mental Health Court. She has visited the Mental Health Court in Hattiesburg and consulted with the mental health court grant writer for the Eight Judicial District. She also lectured at the spring Mississippi Mental Health Nurse Practitioner conference about the need for mental health courts. “Unfortunately, there are a large number of mentally ill individuals, many with dual diagnoses, who cycle through the criminal justice system with disastrous results for them, their families and society as a whole. We can and must do better to ensure public safety, reduce the rate of recidivism and violence on re-arrest, and connect the mentally ill criminal defendants with the proper treatment services and management by the court.”

Maher has held the position since November, 2017. Since that time, she has cleared up the backlog of cases in both the criminal and civil dockets, as well as the traffic docket of the Justice Court Southern District. “The clerks of court and I are in constant communication about how many cases are pending and we schedule extra days when necessary. The traffic docket requires constant monitoring to keep the citizens in good standing with the Department of Public Safety.” According to Justice Court records, Maher has processed 3,038 traffic citations, 830 Civil cases, and 1,022 criminal matters. She has also performed 28 weddings, both on-site at Justice Court and off-site at different venues around town.

Maher has also been instrumental in making sure that the Justice Court complies with the Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure, which went into effect in July, 2017. “The Rules are very strict about what protections are available to criminal clients, especially indigent criminal clients. Counties who do not follow these Rules closely have been sued by the MacArthur Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union. It is much more cost-effective to comply with the rules.”

On the civil side, Maher says that the state legislature has made significant changes to eviction laws and those cases comprise a good portion of the civil docket. “Landlords, tenants and law enforcement have all been confused about the new law but I explain it to all parties during the hearings and during the enforcement process. Open communication is the key.”

Her professional licenses include law licenses in Mississippi and Louisiana, registered nursing licenses in Mississippi and Louisiana, and certification as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner in Mississippi.

Maher has been married to G. Mark LaFrancis for 31years. The have four children, Mark, (wife, Carly) and Mary (fiancé, Josh). Maher and her family are members of St. Mary Basilica. She is a 1978 graduate of Boston College, received a Master’s Degree in American History from Boston College in 1982, a Master of Arts in teaching English as a Second Language from the Elms College (Chicopee, MA) in 1989, a Juris Doctorate from Western New England University (Springfield, MA) in 1995, a bachelor of science in nursing from Alcorn University in 2014 and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Mississippi in 2017.

Maher’s community service includes being a member of the Board of Directors of the Natchez Housing Authority, lector at St. Mary Basilica, volunteer with the Home with Heroes Foundation, and member of the Natchez Adams-County Humane Society. She has also taught American Government at Copiah-Lincoln College’s Natchez Campus.