Municipal Court is responsible for processing and adjudicating all misdemeanor arrests within the city. Records regarding these cases are housed within Municipal Court, and a public computer is available in the lobby to view misdemeanor convictions.
Additionally, this department consists of two judges, one prosecutor and one public defender who are all appointed by the mayor. The types of cases heard in this court include:
- police-initiated arrests
- personal affidavits
- traffic citations
- first appearance
- preliminary hearings for felony defendants
The mayor’s vision for municipal court is to be rehabilitative. Through community initiatives and partnerships like Behavioral Health Court, mental health awareness programming and more, court works to provide an environment that reduces recidivism.
Behavioral Health Court
The Hattiesburg Behavioral Health Court was established in 2010 as an opportunity for misdemeanor offenders who present mental health issues to receive resources and treatment. The program works in collaboration with both the Hattiesburg Police Department and Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources, with a goal of reducing repeat offenders through alternative sentencing for qualifying participants with misdemeanor charges.
The benefits of this program include:
- Support of a specialized team dedicated to a successful outcome
- Possible removal from formal probation or dismissal of charges dependent on program compliance
- Options for treatment of mental health issues or addictions
- Potential for new employment and growth opportunities