Frontline Responders: Judge Toby Bartee

Published: Jan. 1, 2023 at 2:20 PM CST
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QUITMAN, Miss. (WTOK) - For our Frontline Responders this week, we are spotlighting one Clarke County Judge that will be leaving the bench soon.

Judge Toby Bartee announced recently that he will not seek re-election after his seventh term ends.

Judge Bartee was the first African American elected as a judge in Clarke County.

He has severd the area for 27 years and was inspired to pursue a judicial career path by watching one revolutionary civil rights leader.

“Dr. King inspired me. I was born in ‘63 so during the 60s and the Civil Rights stuff. Even as a child, I was following all of that stuff. I was just inspired by his message, and I always wanted to be a lawyer, that was one thing, that didn’t happen and when the opportunity presented itself for me to run for judge, I did so,” said Judge Bartee.

As the Justice Court Judge for Clarke County and also the Municipal Court Judge in Shubuta and Quitman, Judge Bartee presides over a variety of different cases ranging from criminal, traffic citations, and civil court cases.

The judge takes pride in his work by ensuring everyone receives due process in a timely manner.

“One thing I’ve learned when people break the law it doesn’t make them bad. People make mistakes. The law is just set to make sure we have peace and harmony where we can live in a society where people are respected. So, I just love meeting people and being able to talk to them and put them on the right path. And I love it when I am able to give them another opportunity to make a better start because I made mistakes, and somebody gave me an opportunity to do better. Because of that I’ve been sitting in this seat for 27 years,” said Judge Bartee.

Aside from being a judge, Bartee has always been heavily involved in the community and is currently working as a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Responder.

“Because often times in a small community you hear people complain about the people that’s doing things, but they don’t want to part of the solution, or they don’t want to get in the trenches and help. So, first I became an EMR and next thing I know I became a part of the fire department. I thought I was just a part of it just to do the EMR work but later on I was interested in working with fire department and so I started driving the truck, I started fighting fires, so I just like being the person that is trying to make the community better,” said Judge Bartee.

Judge Bartee is excited about retirement and to begin a new chapter in his life.

“I started last year praying about it and asking God for a sign. I am comfortable. I am relaxed. I know I am doing the right thing. The number seven in the Bible means complete and this will be my seventh terms so once I complete this term, I feel like I’ve done plenty. The number eight means mean new beginning so after I finish up next year I am looking for to a new beginning,” said Judge Bartee.

In his retirement, Judge Bartee said he plans to build new construction, start a farm, and spend more time with family.