Harrison County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3, Judge Mike Smith, right, is welcomed by Lions Club President Jimmie Van Norden.

The Marshall Lions Club met at Tuesday, Nov. 24at the meeting room of Jose Tequila’s Grill located at 1205 East End Blvd. South. President Jimmie Van Norden called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions. She asked Lion Dudley Swofford to open the meeting with prayer, then appointed Lion Swanson to lead the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags. Lion Dare Westmoreland led Lions in singing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and “America.”

Lion Tamer Robert Coleman welcomed Lions to the meeting. He advised the Club that there were 18 in the Den. The Thought for the Day is: “Count your blessings – let go of the things you cannot change, practice kindness and take a deep breath and relax.

Acting Tail Twister Lion Robert Wood also welcomed the Club. He reported on several members and guest Richard Brown, guest of Lion Jimmie Van Norden.

Lion Robert reported that the program for December 1, will be The Texas Country Music Hall of Fame with Tommie Ritter Smith. December 8, will be a special program by Texas Oncology of Longview.

President Jimmie introduced the program, Harrison County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3, Judge Mike Smith. He was elected in 1998 and has served ever since. Mike related that he was headed to his 3rd year in law school when coaching and teaching caught his eye and he coached and taught for the next 37 years. Judge Smith announced that he will retire at the end of his term.

Smith pointed out some of the duties of the JP Court and how COVID 19 has affected it. Orders from the State of Texas were to change the procedure for evictions. The first change was if an eviction will cause homelessness, then it will have to be forgone. Secondly, if a person has income of some type that they are making an effort to pay the rent, the Landlord must forego the eviction.

One of the other points Judge Smith made was that an attorney is not needed in JP Court. However, in 1998, when he took office the statutory dollar limit was $5,000. A few years later, it was raised to $10,000.00, and in January, 2021, it will go to $20,000.

One thing that consumes a lot of a JP’s time is truancy. For example, last week he reported that his court handled 57 cases of truancy. It has changed over the last several years where the parents are now the defendants in the case. The first time a case if filed, it is a civil case, normally resulting in a judgment in favor of the school district and then if it happens again, the charges become criminal.

Lion Robert Wood, retired Constable, asked Judge Smith if Hallsville ISD was better at keeping records of a student’s address. Lion Robert recalled that if a student’s family moved 10 times in 10 years, Marshall ISD would still have the first address!

Other Lions had several questions for Judge Smith.

President Jimmie Van Norden thanked Judge Mike for a informative program and presented him with a Lions writing pen. She asked Lion Paul Martin to close the meeting with prayer and she adjourned the meeting.

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