courtesy Eric Charles Hawkins
The Jackson Free Press reached out to all judicial candidates who are running on the Nov. 6 ballot to represent jurisdictions throughout the Jackson metro area, regardless of whether they had a challenger or not. Each candidate received the same questionnaire. We've published their responses in full below, with minimal edits for editorial/reader clarity only. The JFP did not copyedit or line-edit candidate responses. The views expressed by candidates do not necessarily reflect the views of the JFP.
Fast Facts About Eric Charles Hawkins
Title of Specific District/Position Campaigning for: District 2 Court of Appeals Judge
Educational Background: Greenville High School 1980, Jackson State Universit & Tulane University 1987
Professional Background: Attorney at Law
Place of Residence: Greenville, Mississippi
Spouse/children: Widower, was married to the Late Ruthie M. Hawkins
If you have run for this judicial seat before, please state when. (If you are an incumbent, please cite years in current position): Not applicable
List your endorsements: No endorsements
Why do you want to serve on the Mississippi Appellate Court right now?
Because I believe that I can do an effective job in insuring that justice is dispensed fairly on the appellate level in the state of Mississippi.
How do you view the impact of a Mississippi Appellate judge, and what would you bring to the role?
Appellate judges have a broad impact given reviewing lower court decision, and interpreting laws enacted by the state legislature. I would bring years of broad-based experience in both civil and criminal litigation. I have ligated numerous cases as a lawyer in private practice, and I have served the state of Mississippi for more than 20 years as a municipal and county prosecutor.
Provide one or two examples of your legal and/or judicial experience when you made an impact in the state, and describe the result.
As a prosecutor, I have fought tirelessly to protect our young and old from the impact of violent crimes. I have a winning percentage rate of convicting those who would do harm to the most vulnerable persons in our community.
In the past year or so, what has been the most consequential/at-risk issue facing the appellate court, and what do you plan to do about it?
The most consequential issue I believe facing the court is the criminal justice reform along with devising a plan to deal with defendants who are suffering from a variety of mental illnesses who really cannot be effectively supervised within the judicial system. Judges are really limited in what they can do because it requires significant legislative action. However, judges are often called to participate in public panels and discussions. This would be an opportunity to give a real voice to these issues. As you may be aware, judges are not allowed to engage in direct advocacy.
What are the characteristics of a good judge, and how do your characteristics compare?
The characteristics of a good judge are one who can be objective and fair. A good jurist must never pre-judge a case and keep an open mind while listening to the facts in an unbiased manner. These are the characteristics, and qualities I possess.
What sets you apart in this race?
I think my range of experience and the variety of cases sets me apart from the other candidates.
If you are unsuccessful in your race, how specifically will you continue working on behalf of the state?
I will continue to serve the state of Mississippi as a prosecutor in order to protect the citizens of our state from those who would engage in acts of violence, and other criminal acts which are in violation of our laws.