Gluckstadt board rounds out court appointments
GLUCKSTADT — The city continues to expand its new Municipal Court Division with the hiring of its first municipal judge, municipal judge pro tempore, and public defender.
Along with these new positions, the city also hired Stephanie Gerlach as the first Municipal Court Clerk during the September 8 Board of Alderman meeting.
"Having spent the majority of my career in public service, I am convinced that local government has the greatest power to impact people's lives for good," Gerlach said. "I am honored to have been appointed as the Municipal Court Clerk, and I am eager to serve the residents of Gluckstadt.”
The Hon. John Sims, III has been appointed as the city’s first municipal judge.
Judge Sims formerly served as prosecutor and assistant city attorney for the city of Madison and recently served as general counsel for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Sims has spent the last several years in private practice with Taggart, Rimes & Wiggins, PLLC practicing in criminal defense and complex litigation.
As a former municipal prosecutor, Judge Sims has handled thousands of criminal cases, both misdemeanor, and felony. His prosecutions included DUI, narcotics, conspiracy, larceny (theft), embezzlement, fraud, search and seizure, and other types of criminal matters.
Sims said he is humbled and grateful to Mayor Morrison and the aderman for the opportunity to serve his community once again.
“Our misdemeanor courts in Mississippi touch the lives of more citizens than all other courts,” Sims said. “It is essential that we create and operate a court that is fair and just to all who come before it, and that is exactly what we will do in Gluckstadt Municipal Court.”
The Hon. Marsha Weems Stacey is joining the city as municipal judge pro tempore.
Stacey currently serves as Madison County’s District 1 Justice Court Judge. She will retain the same powers as the acting Municipal Judge, but will only serve in his absence in the event the judge is unavailable or unable to fulfill the duties of the position for any reason.
Devin Whitt has been appointed as the public defender and currently maintains a private practice specializing in criminal defense, family law, and personal injury.
John Scanlon and Zachary Giddy, the current city attorneys, will also serve as city prosecutors. All Municipal Court appointments and/or hires were approved unanimously by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
“These lawyers are among the finest in the State of Mississippi,” Mayor Morrison said. “Their selection illustrates not only the level of skill and competence of each of them but recognizes their honesty, integrity, and work ethic. We look forward to having each of them work to develop Gluckstadt’s Municipal Court.”
Gluckstadt Police Chief Wendell Watts said he is extremely excited for the opportunity to work alongside professional and dedicated public servants.
“I know we will all work together to make Gluckstadt a safe community,” Watts said. “I am looking forward to the next challenge of building out our Municipal Court.”
Gluckstadt’s Municipal Court adjudicates cases that involve alleged violations of City ordinances, including traffic offenses and misdemeanor criminal violations. The Court works closely with judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and citizens before, during, and after the adjudication of court cases.
The Municipal Court clerk works closely with the municipal judge to ensure effective operations of the Municipal Court, and with local organizations and partnering agencies to administer programs related to substance abuse, domestic violence, crime prevention, and remedial measures.