JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Incumbent Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens is running for re-election. He hopes a string of recent successes will help him be re-elected as the county’s top prosecutor.
“We have been able to tackle the grand jury backlog whether you asked any agency in Mississippi who prosecutes cases in Hinds County, there is no grand jury backlog. We also have seen that the level of indictments and convictions. Despite COVID, despite courts shutting down, we have received numbers that we’ve never seen before where individuals are being held accountable. And we think that’s important. We think the best is yet to come,” Owens stated.
Since Owens has been in office, 5,701 individuals have been indicted resulting in nearly 9,000 felony counts. While the jury backlog has been handled, a trial backlog still exists.
“We’re not where we want to be. Ideally, that would be one year. We’re closer to about 18 months of the current cases due to our ability to get those cases tried. We’re trying a lot of cases. Our judges work harder than any other judges in the state of Mississippi because they have the highest volume. I think another four years in this administration means you will continue to see the progress that we’ve been able to build. We’ve been able to double the number of attorneys and investigators we have, bringing us to the right size to tackle the problem. But also, we’re working with law enforcement in just very critical ways. And it really needs to be a system wide coming together. Common goal, common mission I think we’ve seen over the last four years, and I think they will continue to get better,” said Owens.
The Hinds County public defender system has also been facing challenges as of late.
“We’ve worked with the public defender system, and we’ve lobbied on their behalf in the way that it’s gotten them millions of dollars over the last two years. When we’ve gone to the Capitol and we’ve talked to Speaker Gunn or Governor Reeves and the Hinds County delegation, we said, ‘Look, we need comprehensive packages because it can’t just be the DA’s office.’ It also has to be a strong public defender office because defendants need lawyers,” Owens stated.
If re-elected, Owens is prepared to put the DA’s office on a bold path forward.
“Working more with our youth in our school system, making sure that we’re using technology to look at social media and the development of conflicts and resolve those conflicts first. I see that we have a tremendous uphill right now because everything is coming together. More law enforcement, more DA’s, more lawyers and more public defenders to have a more just and fair system. And if the voters vote for me and reelect me on November 7, it’s my promise and commitment to them they they’ll get that,” he said.