We must do better for our society

Published 4:00 pm Saturday, September 3, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“Our moral compass is no longer pointing true.”

That’s what Paul Leake said earlier this week when talking about a horrific scare he and his family had when he confronted thieves at his home, one of whom fired a weapon at him, striking his home twice, while they fled in a vehicle.

Leake, in that quote, summed up what many of us feel.

Email newsletter signup

We have lost our way, at least morally.

The demise of the traditional family — where two parents work together to raise children — coupled with technology “advances” that move us farther and farther away from each other as a society play a part in our devaluing of human life.

A judicial system that does not punish those who should be punished for their crimes against others isn’t helping.

Many people think Xavier Jenkins, 22, who is alleged to have shot at Leake while fleeing from his home on Aug. 22, should have been serving time in prison.

Jenkins was arrested in 2018 and pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of attempted murder. He received a 15-year sentence, but was credited with a year and a half he served in county jail prior to going to trial. Then-Judge Al Johnson suspended the remainder of Jenkins’ sentence and he was in essence on parole.

In May 2020, Jenkins was again arrested for being a felon in possession of a stolen weapon. At that time, Sixth District Attorney Shameca Collins said she asked the court to revoke Jenkin’s parole and send him to prison.

Instead, Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Debra Blackwell sent Jenkins to a program for teenagers meant to reduce recidivism. No one is certain how much time Jenkins spent in that program before aging out. He was 19 at the time he was sent there.

More than two years later, Jenkins’ case for the weapon possession charge has yet to come to trial.

This problem is not unique. Right now, two inmates are serving time in the Adams County Jail without having the benefit of a trial or being convicted of a crime. They have been there since 2019.

Four other inmates have been in the county jail since 2020, but haven’t had their day in court. Twelve other inmates have been incarcerated in the Adams County Jail for more than a year without the benefit of a trial.

Eleven other inmates have been waiting without a trial for more than six months.

That’s not how justice is supposed to work. It is anything except swift in Adams County, Mississippi.

We need to take seriously our job of electing judges, who are the leaders of the judicial system in Mississippi.

We must do better for our families, and for our society.