Gray announces candidacy

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My name is James L. “Jim” Gray and I am announcing my candidacy for County Attorney for Pearl River County in the Aug. 7 Republican Primary.

In making this announcement, I ask you, the voters, to please consider my experience, qualifications, legal background and my commitment to family and community and give me your support in the upcoming election.

I am a 1977 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. In 1980, I received my Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

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My wonderful wife, Serena, and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this year. We have three children, Luke (26), Bill (24) and Elizabeth (22).

We have lived in Pearl River County since 1998, when I opened my private law practice in downtown Picayune. Serena has been a public school teacher for the past 20 years.

In 1992, I received a Masters of Divinity degree from the New Orleans Baptist Seminary. I have been the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in the Nicolson Community since 1994.

Currently, I am a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity and Picayune Mainstreet Association.

It is my desire to serve the citizens of Pearl River County with honesty, fairness and independence. It is my belief criminal trial experience is the most important qualification a candidate must have to serve as an effective county attorney.

During the course of a successful 27-year career in law, I have acquired extensive criminal trial experience at all levels of the Circuit and Justice Court systems.

The duties of your county attorney include prosecuting criminal misdemeanor cases in Justice Court, prosecuting juvenile delinquency cases in Youth Court and conducting preliminary hearings in felony cases.

The county attorney also conducts shelter hearings for neglected or abused juveniles and performs assignments designated by the district attorney’s office. It is vital for the county attorney to work closely with all elements of the law enforcement community.

I personally know many of the fine officers in this county and I have nothing but profound respect for the enormous responsibility resting on their shoulders every day. I will partner with law enforcement to protect the citizens of this great county and do my duty as required by law.

If you elect me, I will implement a series of internal changes I believe will improve the efficiency of criminal trials and pleas in our justice counts. Too often, our citizens are forced to spend long hours in justice court awaiting a resolution to their cases.

These delays affect everyone in the legal process; the accused, the victim and the material witnesses. I believe I have the experience, the knowledge and the ability to move cases swiftly, efficiently and at a savings to the taxpayers of Pearl River County.

In closing, the most important commitment I can make to you is this: I will treat every person I come into contact with in the legal system with dignity, respect and fairness.

I believe justice is a right not just for the accused, but also the right of the crime victim and a right all citizens are guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions.

With a humble heart, I ask for your vote and support in the upcoming Republican Primary. Thank you.