Constitutional Amendment on Ballot

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved a proposed constitutional amendment for a public vote Nov. 5 to lengthen the terms of Mississippi trial judges.

The measure, if approved, would increase the terms from four years to six years.

Lauderdale County Youth and County Court Judge Frank Coleman is an advocate of the longer terms.

"A judge spends a year and a half on court business and then has to worry about campaign financing," said Coleman, who is chairman of the Mississippi Conference of County Court Judges. "And a new judge needs a term or 2 to 3 years just to get adjusted to the process."

The longer terms would affect Chancery, Circuit and County Court judges throughout Mississippi. Voters will decide the issue during November's general election.