Pearl Municipal Court has two Judges for adult criminal cases and one Judge for Youth Court.

Judge John Shirley

Municipal Court Judge
Youth Court Judge

Judge Richard Redfern

Municipal Court Judge


The Municipal Court Clerk, Karen Jackson, is the administrator of the court and is assisted by several deputy clerks.


Brendan Sartin is the youth court prosecutor and the adult municipal court prosecutor.

Public Defenders

Greg Hemphill is the youth court public defender and the adult municipal court public defender.

Criminal Cases

Criminal cases are either a misdemeanor or a felony.   A misdemeanor is a crime in which the maximum penalty does not include imprisonment in the state penitentiary (Parchman).   A felony conviction may result in imprisonment in the state penitentiary (Parchman).   The crime must be prosecuted in the county in which the crime occurred.

Misdemeanor Criminal Cases

Every Thursday is a "plea" date where adults charged with a misdemeanor or children charged with a traffic offense appear and enter a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty."

Criminal cases (other than traffic cases) allegedly committed by children are handled in Youth Court.

Pleading "not guilty"

If a plea of "not guilty" is entered, the matter is set for a trial on a later date so that witnesses may be subpoenaed.

Pleading "guilty"

Before the court may accept a plea of guilty, the court must determine that a plea is voluntarily and intelligently made and that there is a factual basis for the plea.

When the defendant wishes to plead guilty to an offense charged, it is the duty of the court to address the defendant personally and to inquire and determine:

  • (a) that the defendant is competent to understand the nature of the charge against him/her;

  • (b) the defendant understands the nature and consequences of his/her plea, and the maximum and minimum penalties provided by law;

  • (c) that the defendant understands that by pleading guilty he/she waives his/her constitutional right to a trial, the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, and the right against self-incrimination; and

  • (d) if the defendant is not represented by an attorney, that he/she is aware of his/her right to an attorney at every stage of the proceedings and that one will be appointed to represent him/her if he/she is indigent.


If a defendant is found "guilty" after a trial or if a plea of "guilty" is entered, the Judge determines the penalty which, depending on the crime, may include any or all of the following:

  • (a) fine;
  • (b) a jail sentence of up to six (6) months;
  • (c) house arrest;
  • (d) probation (supervised or unsupervised);
  • (e) community service;
  • (f) victim's impact seminar;
  • (g) vehicle immobilization;
  • (h) Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP);
  • (i) drug and alcohol assessment and any recommended treatment;
  • (j) psychological assessment and any recommended treatment;
  • (k) domestic violence counseling;
  • (l) anger management counseling;
  • (m) no contact with the victim;
  • (n) restitution.

Felony Criminal Cases

The Judges issue felony arrest warrants and search warrants upon a showing of probable cause.   The Judges also conduct felony initial appearances and felony preliminary hearings.

Felony trials are conducted in Circuit Court.

Criminal cases (other than traffic cases) allegedly committed by children are handled in
Youth Court.

If you wish to file felony charges against someone and if the alleged crime occurred in the Pearl city limits, contact the Pearl Police Department (601-939-7000), otherwise contact the Rankin County Sheriff's Department at 601-825-1480.