Pearl River County Supervisors served by 15th District

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Two 15th District Circuit Court judges served a court order to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors demanding the renovation of the Pearl River County Courthouse in Poplarville.

On Jan. 15, 15th District Circuit Judges Prentiss Harrell and Anthony Mozingo filed a court order, which states that preliminary plans to renovate the courthouse must be implemented within 90 days, according to the court order filed in the Pearl River County Circuit Clerk’s office.

The court order states three main reasons why immediate renovations are necessary, which include, “safety and welfare of the public,” “technology standards woefully inadequate for employees, attorneys, and court personnel,” and “aesthetics of the once beautiful and stately courthouse has digressed to the point of embarrassment.”

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The report also states that for the past 10 years, grand jury reports on the courthouse have found not only aesthetic problems, but also safety hazards.

The most recent grand jury report found issues ranging from exposed electrical wiring to the need to repair the rundown outside stairs and sidewalk.

The court order also highlights several complaints received about the courthouse, including the state of the restrooms and the smell in the jury room, lack of reliable Internet, witnesses seen tripping and falling on the uneven courtroom floors, exposed wires under the flooring, which causes loud feedback when stepped on, and reports that the structural integrity of the building is failing.

Since 1984, the courthouse has been designated a Mississippi Historical Landmark, according to the court order.

Last year, the Item reported that the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors was awarded $600,000 to restore the courthouse to meet the standards of the American Disabilities Act. The Item also reported that Judge Harrell told the board that the county could face a court order to renovate the courthouse.

According to a press release from the Pearl River County Bar Association, the courthouse was established in 1918, and hasn’t received any major renovation.

Pearl River County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin told the Item the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors will discuss the issue further at today’s board meeting in Poplarville.

Both Harrell and Mozingo could not be reached for comment.