Panola County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Panola County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Panola County.
Panola County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Panola County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Panola County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Panola County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Where can I get help for my Panola County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Panola County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
Panola County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Panola County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Panola County. The Panola County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Panola County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Panola County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Panola County will take place at the Panola County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Panola County Criminal Court Locations.
Sentencing in Panola County
In Panola County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
In a jury trial in Panola County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Panola County Required Court Appearances
In Panola County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
Panola County Criminal Court Locations
Panola County Circuit Court – 1st District
Address: 215 S Pocahontas St, Sardis MS 38666
Phone: 662-487-2073 Fax: 662-487-3595
Panola County Circuit Court – 2nd District
Address: 151 Public Square, PO Box 346, Batesville MS 38606
Phone: 662-563-6210 Fax: 662-563-8233
Panola County Chancery Court – 1st District
Address: 215 S Pochontas St, Sardis MS 38666
Phone: 662-487-2070 Fax: 662-487-3559
Panola County Chancery Court – 2nd District
Address: 151 Public Square, Batesville MS 38606
Phone: 662-563-6205 Fax: 662-563-6277
Panola County Youth Court
Address: 151 Public Square, Batesville MS 38606
Phone: 662-563-6205 Fax: 662-563-8233
Panola County Justice Court
Address: 215 S Pocahontas St, PO Box 249, Sardis MS 38666
Phone: 662-487-2080 Fax: 662-487-2008
Batesville Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 689, Batesville MS 38606
Phone: 662-563-6645 Fax: 662-563-2726
Como Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 118, Como MS 38619
Phone: 662-526-9647 Fax: 662-526-0210
Crenshaw Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 342, Crenshaw MS 38621
Phone: 662-382-5234 Fax: 662-382-7107
Sardis Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 306, Sardis MS 38666