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Issue Position: Protecting Your Right to Elect Judges

Issue Position

Location: Brandon, MS

Issue Position: Protecting Your Right to Elect Judges

One of the most important issues in this race will be whether or not we Mississippians continue to elect our judges. Jim Kitchens is a stout supporter of an elected judiciary, a system in which the people of Mississippi, not politicians, choose our judges.

Opponents of electing judges say that federal investigations into a small number of attorneys who are accused of bribing judges points to the need for a change in our system. These same people say to rid the judicial system of politics we must appoint, not elect, our judges.

But Jim Kitchens believes opponents of electing judges in Mississippi are wrong. Here are a few reasons why:

1. It was Judge Henry L. Lackey — an elected judge — who went to the FBI when he was approached with a bribe.
2. Federal authorities are currently investigating whether a second judge accepted a bribe. Federal prosecutors claim that judge hoped to get an appointed judgeship.
3. Jim Kitchens supports electing our judges in Mississippi because he feels the people, not politicians, are best suited to choose who will interpret the laws of our state.
4. Jim Kitchens opposes appointing judges in Mississippi because it will take away from the people their rights to vote for one branch of our government and give more influence to a very few powerful politicians.
5. Jim Kitchens knows that a system of appointing judges would shroud the process in secrecy where the public would have no input in the selection of people who help decide their fate in a court of law.

"As a Supreme Court justice, I will always protect the interest of the people when it comes to the selection process of our judges," Jim Kitchens said. "To take this basic right of electing our leaders away from the people and place it in the hands of powerful politicians is wrong."

In Mississippi, candidates for judges must meet certain qualifications that include being:

* A practicing attorney
* At least 26 years of age for circuit and chancery court judges and 30 years of age for appeals and supreme court judges.
* A citizen of the state for five years preceding the day of election.

"I trust the people to select their judges from a list of qualified candidates more than I trust a politician to choose our judges from a list of friends or financial backers," Jim Kitchens said.

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