Harlow speaks at PRC Bar meeting

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mississippi Bar Association President-Elect Eugene M. Harlow addressed the Pearl River County Bar Association, Thursday, in a meeting held at Pearl River County Community College.

Harlow, of Laurel, discussed membership, and the many programs and services the state bar offers its membership.

He told the group there are 8,985 active members of the state bar. Of these members, 27 percent are women and 10 percent are minorities.

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The bar’s legislative agenda included passage of the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which is quite broad. Among other things, it addresses  minimums on offenders convicted of violent and non-violent offenses. Violent offenders would be required to serve at least 50 percent of their sentence, and anyone convicted of a nonviolent offense would have to serve at least 25 percent. The bill would give judges more flexibility to give alternative sentences, such as ordering treatment for drug users.

Another agenda item entailed additional Drug Court funding.

Harlow said that in the coming year he hopes to increase state funding to the state’s Judicial System, which presently is less than one percent of the state budget. He also wants to expand bar programs in schools to educate children on the role of law enforcement in society and work to protect the right to trial by jury.