Election preview: District 3 Justice Court Judge

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - An upcoming race for Justice Court Judge features two Meridian natives, Tarquez Hopson and Joseph Denson.

Hopson currently works as a deputy clerk for the city of Meridian. He says the position sparked interest to do more in the courtroom.

“Being a deputy clerk has allowed me to be able to sit directly next to the judge, listen to his judgment and get an understanding on how he got that judgment," Hopson said. "I think that will help me in the long run as far as becoming justice court judge.”

Hopson has worked in several different positions including as a teacher and basketball coach. The Meridian High grad says a justice court judge should understand the people that enter the courtroom and his community relationships make him stand out in this race.

“I've been in the community in so many different areas to be able to learn and understand everyone," Hopson said. "I feel like being a lay-person, I would be fair, impartial and honest.”

Joseph Denson says his decision to run for justice court judge stemmed from working as lawyer for the past fourteen years.

“A lot of times if justice court judges can’t make a decision based on their training and knowledge, they call a lawyer. Well, I’m a lawyer," Denson said.

Denson is also Meridian High graduate and a pastor. He says his knowledge of the law is something Lauderdale County needs in the courtroom.

“Many times lawyers say it’s best to argue your case before a lawyer judge because they understand the case law," Denson said. "Why not put my hat in there and give the Lauderdale County citizens an opportunity to have a lawyer judge?"

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Paul Earley, who was appointed in 2018 to fill an unexpired term as justice court judge, in the November general election.