• 41°

Chimney Square site for Chancery Court

Jodi Marze | Picayune Item All Rise: Chancery Clerk David Earl Johnson, Judge Ronald Doleac and attorney Gerald Cruthird stand in the Chimney Square courtroom that is used to hold Chancery Court. Jodi Marze | Picayune Item


All Rise: Chancery Clerk David Earl Johnson, Judge Ronald Doleac and attorney Gerald Cruthird stand in the Chimney Square courtroom that is used to hold Chancery Court.
Jodi Marze | Picayune Item

Pearl River County residents who need to conduct business in the jurisdiction of the chancery system may have a local option instead of traveling to Poplarville, but only if both attorneys agree, said Chancery Court Judge Ronald Doleac.

“Chimney Square is a beautiful facility and is certainly convenient for some who are closer to Picayune than Poplarville,” said Doleac, who was holding court at Chimney Square last Friday. “That includes attorneys.”

Chancery Court handles all divorces— including modifications of them— adoptions, small construction disputes, estates, emancipations, name changes, custody in general and lunacy and drug commitments. The chancery court does not handle criminal cases.

Current 10th District Chancery judges in addition to Doleac are: Deborah J. Gambrell, Johnny Williams and Dawn Beam.

Doleac said that the Chancery judges serve in Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, and Perry counties. Travelling to hold court in locations such as Chimney Square is another way to serve when they are available to do so.

“Pearl River County is one of the larger dockets for Chancery Court. The Picayune attorneys are in favor of holding court here as much as possible. I like to try and accommodate the attorneys from this area,” Doleac said.

“Chancery doesn’t have a lot of witnesses, but we could accommodate them if needed.

Chancery Judge Dawn Beam said that she and the other judges were certainly open to holding court at Chimney Square. She said court personnel are located in Poplarville, but that they would be open to accommodating attorneys and litigants as circumstances required.

“At the end of the day, I think you will find that we all want to do a good job and come to the right conclusion,” Beam said. “Where we do it doesn’t matter.”

Pearl River County Bar Association President Gerald Cruthird is a local attorney and very much in favor of the Chimney Square courtrooms getting more use. Cruthird has been supportive of holding court here since construction of the building began.

Cruthird said that there are times when it is more convenient to all parties involved to have access to Chimney Square for their proceedings.

“No one is taking away from Poplarville in any way, but there are times when it is just more convenient for all involved to use (Chimney Square). And it is an option that people may not be aware of,” Cruthird said.

What would be the reality of Chimney Square housing at least a consistent part-time Chancery court? Both Cruthird and Doleac agreed that organization within the system needs to occur to make this happen.

Cruthird said that time could potentially be divided with court held half of the time in Poplarville and the other half of the time in Picayune.

He said if citizens from the lower part of the county would like to use this facility, they need to make their attorney aware of this request.

Doleac cautioned that it would take both attorney’s mutual agreement to make it happen.

“All four of us chanceries are here to serve. This is part of us serving. There is a difference in us being in-term an out-of-term because law says we will be in Poplarville during term.

“Remember, Poplarville is the county seat and when we are in-term we hold court there.”