Q If a justice court judge has failed to file the certificate required by Section 9-11-3, which requires the justice court judge to file certificates attesting to the completion of a training course conducted by the Mississippi Judicial College and completion of a minimum competency examination administered by the Mississippi Judicial College within eight (8) months of the beginning of the term, what is the specific date that the punishment set forth in Section 9-11-3(4) may take effect?

A Section 9-11-3(4) states, “Upon failure of the justice court judge to file with the chancery clerk the certificates of completion, such justice court judge shall not be entitled to compensation for the period of time during which certificates remain unfiled. If a justice court judge has not filed the required certificates within eight (8) months of the inception of the term, that justice court judge shall forfeit his office.” Continuing education courses cannot be completed by justice court judges elected in the November 2015 general election until October 2016 making it an impossibility for the judges to satisfy the statutory requirement to complete such course within eight (8) months of the inception of the term. Consequently, no punishment can be imposed at this time. If a justice court judge fails to complete the continuing education course that concludes in October 2016 and/or fails to make the proper filing “annually,” he or she would then be subject to the statutory punishment. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Slover, November 4, 2016)