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District Attorney Candidates Easley and Kizer speak at Exchange Club

Candidates for county attorney appeared at the Columbus Exchange Club October 20. Chuck Easley and Allison Pritchard Kizer were each given about 10 minutes to speak; since there is no incumbent in the race, the candidates spoke in alphabetical order.
Easley was the first to speak.
“I’m a lawyer here in town, and I’ve been a lawyer for 30 years,” Easley said. “Twenty-six of those years I’ve been a public servant. I was raised to give back. I’ve been very blessed in my career. I am running for county prosecuting attorney. That deals with misdemeanors and preliminary hearings in Justice Court, and it also deals with Youth Court. There is a lot of crime committed in this county by juveniles, and we need an experienced prosecutor. I have a 17-year-old daughter, and that’s why I’m running. We need someone to step in and replace Tim Hudson that’s experienced and that’s trained.
“In the past you’ve allowed me to serve as one of your judges on the supreme court of Mississippi,” Easley said. “I served there for eight years. I’ve been back home and in practice for the past two and a half years. I prefer to be back home. Chief Justice Prather warned me when I went down to the supreme court that my children were too young. One was six and one was 16. She warned me I would miss a lot of them growing up. She was right. Ms. Prather was always right. Can’t argue with her.”
Easley touted his past experience.
“I started my career thirty years ago as an assistant district attorney,” Easley said. “I prosecuted thousands of criminals, both felonies and misdemeanor crimes. I tried over a hundred cases – jury trials is what I’m talking about. I had a 90% conviction rate. In all those years I never lost a murder case. I also worked for the county. For 14 years I was a commitment attorney working for the chancery court. That’s working for people with mental problems, alcohol problems and drug abuse. I enjoyed that. When I was on the supreme court I worked with the judicial college at Ole Miss. People don’t realize that the national judicial college is stationed at Ole Miss. I taught an ethics course. It’s very important both for lawyers and judges to not forget their obligations under canon.
“I’ve been a guardian ad litem in the past,” Easley said. “I’ve been certified as a guardian ad litem. Also last year when Municipal Judge Curtis Austin passed away, I was asked to step in and serve. It was an honor to serve the city for about five months last year, along with another judge and Judge Phillips.”
Easley explained that he is very conservative.
“I’m pro-life,” he said. “I’m a lifetime member of the NRA. Yes, I’m running as a Democrat but I’m very conservative. I share the same values most of you do. I have over 400 hours of continuing education; as a lawyer you’re required to get 12 hours a year. I’ve been to so many seminars I couldn’t tell you where they all are. I’ve been a trial lawyer, I’ve been a prosecutor, I’ve been a specially appointed public defender in both federal and circuit court.”
Easley said he has a degree in public administration from Ole Miss, a master’s in public administration from Mississippi State and a law degree from Ole Miss.
“I went to the Bates School of Law in Houston, Texas, and took the national district attorney’s course for career prosecutors,” Easley said. “I’ve always enjoyed being a prosecutor because the prosecutor speaks for the victims. Somebody’s got to stand up for the victims. Everybody in this room’s either been the victim of a crime or has had a family member or best friend that’s been a victim. Last year somebody broke into my car. I was a victim last year. We’re all victims of a society that allows criminals to run wild. You need an experienced prosecutor, and I am that prosecutor.”
Kizer followed Easley.
“I went to Mississippi University for Women, and then to law school at Ole Miss,” she said. “I returned to Lowndes County to practice law. I served an internship with the current prosecutor, Tim Hudson, in both Justice Court and Youth Court. I then went to work for former city attorney Tommy Wallace and I worked for him for many years, until I started my own practice.”
“I think you should vote for me because I care about people and I care about this community,” Kizer said. “County prosecutor is charged with protecting the children in this community, as well as victims of crime. Chuck touched a little bit on the duties of county prosecutor, but I want to talk about it a little more. As he said, Justice Court handles misdemeanor crimes – traffic violations, DUIs, domestic violence. They handle preliminary hearings, some small drug offenses. Youth Court is probably the most time consuming for a prosecutor. Some of the cases Youth Court handles are delinquency, abuse and neglect, children who need supervision and children who need special care. Delinquency cases are where a youth commits a crime. It may be a felony crime or a misdemeanor. Because of their age, they are handled through the youth court systems. There are exceptions to that. If a firearm is involved, those cases automatically go to the circuit court. There are other instances, for instance if the child has been through Youth Court repeatedly and services we offer can’t help that child. At that point the county prosecutor’s job is to file a motion to certify. By doing that they’re saying they can’t provide any more rehabilitation for this child and the child needs to be tried as an adult.
“Youth Court handles some cases where children don’t go to school,” she stated. “Those are cases where the court tries to work with the family to keep the child in school and just can’t get anywhere. We handle incorrigibles, which are children who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do. We also handle runaways and things of that nature.
“Lastly, the county prosecutor handles abuse and neglect cases,” she said. “Those are cases where the child has been abused or a certain level of neglect has occurred and the child has to be removed from their home. The county prosecutor presents those cases on behalf of DHS.”
Kizer then explained why she thought voters should select her.
“I’m the only candidate with over 15 years experience working with the current county prosecutor in both justice and youth courts,” she said. “I know every aspect of both court systems. I am currently Lowndes County’s guardian ad litem. I was appointed by the court full time over eight years ago, and for the past 15 years I’ve served as guardian ad litem protecting abused and neglected children. I’ve also been appointed by the court to represent delinquent children. I’m the only candidate currently certified by the Mississippi bar to serve as guardian ad litem for those children. Almost every month for the past 15 years I have been in the youth court system. I have served in some capacity and I know what goes on there and what services are available to help those children and those families. I have the training and experience as county prosecutor to continue to help those children, as well as other victims of crime, in Lowndes County. I have spent the majority of my crime defending the victim, and that’s the child.
“Every ten seconds a child is abused,” she said. “I just read a study where in the US alone over six million children are abused or neglected each year. Almost 2,500 of those children will die because of that abuse. I know you don’t see attorneys agree often, but both Mr. Easley and myself agree that experience matters in this job. What I want you to ask yourself is what experience matters. I haven’t formally been a guardian ad litem, I haven’t formally worked to protect the most vulnerable children in this county, but that’s what I’ve been doing for 15 years. For 15 years I have served in a position where the hours have far exceeded the pay. I did it because I care about my job and I care about the children in this county. I haven’t done that to set myself up to run for this job. I did that because that’s who I am. Long after this election is over, that’s who I’m still going to be.”

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4 comments

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  2. John Osborn

    It is incredible how both of these candidates spoke about the importance of preventing and prosecuting instances of child abuse, but neither focused upon the abuse committed daily in Mississippi’s child prisons. They both seemed ready and willing to send a young boy or girl off to razor wire dungeons like Walnut Grove, where corporate greed and profits are more important than the life of a youngster, yet claim to be knights in shining armor when it comes to issues of child abuse. Seems like a mixed message; its a crime to abuse a child at home, but when the state of Mississippi does it, it’s just fine.

  3. OldLawyer

    perhaps because local county prosecutors have NO say in how state prisons are run. besides, local county prosecutors don’t send people to state prisons, that’s the job of the District Attorney. local county prosecutors send people to local jails and to “training school” which is located in Raymond, Mississippi.

    Guess you must have a relative in Walnut Grove. It is a tough place, I hear. Also guess if your relative had obeyed the law, you wouldn’t have this issue…

  4. concerned pain patient

    I as a chronic pain patient would like to salute all the good pain doctors in the world. I have a great pain doctor he don’t just push drugs on people however he goes out of his way to make sure I have mild physical therapy as well as over the counter vitamins to aide in my recovery. I would have no quality of life with out him. He even goes as far as to finance my spinal injections when I need them in which reduces my pain and the amount of pain medications I need. I was also told by my nurosurgion I needed surgery which I can not afford. He never opted to finance that or keep me comfortable as my pain doctor has so I could keep working and stay off of welfare and take care of my children. I also challenge other pain patients to come forward and fight for you right to healthcare as any other person and fight for your pain doctor as well.

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