Headlines – 7/20/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Panolian Headlines: July 20, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 7/20/04  issue of The Panolian

BPD Hoping to Find Dirt on Track Hoe
Anyone with information on this track hoe is encouraged to contact the Batesville Police Department at 563-6571.
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

An act of vandalism that took place in May still has investigators of the Batesville Police Department scratching their heads.

According to Detective Michael Downs, police still have no idea who is responsible for damage done to a track hoe found buried in the mud on May 26.

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"The piece of equipment belonging to Chris Brocato was found buried in the mud on Highway 51 across from the Batesville Job Corps Center," he said.

Downs said he believes whoever is responsible for the crime got stuck and, as they tried to drive it out, buried it in the mud.

"More than half of the track hoe was buried in the mud," he said. "It broke out every piece of glass on it."

Downs said the BPD has no witnesses to the crime and no solid leads on the person or persons responsible.

"We have had a few leads," he said. "But none of them have panned out."

In an effort to get more information about the incident, Downs said BPD and Brocato are teaming up to offer a reward for information leading the arrest of the culprit.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact Downs through the Batesville Police Department at 563-6571.


Youth Court Judge Wants Sweat Equity
Juveniles Could Be Placed on County Work Crews
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

A new sentencing option for Panola County Youth Court was discussed during the meeting of the Board of Supervisors Monday morning.

Youth Court Judge Adam Pittman told the board that he and supervisor James Birge had discussed using juvenile offenders as workers on county crews.

"I am limited on what I can do with someone who comes to Youth Court," Pittman said.

Pittman said his sentencing options at the present time are training school, probation or the COPES program.

"Basically what Mr. Birge and I discussed was getting some sweat equity out of the juveniles that come through the Youth Court system," he said.

Pittman said one of the biggest concerns about the possible implementation of such a program was whether or not it would be cost-effective for the county.

"We would have to have people out there watching the kids who are on the road crews to make sure they don’t run off into the woods or something," he said. "We are going to have to do something to make sure they don’t go out there and act like kids."

Pittman also said he did not know if such a program would create liability issues for the county.

Board Attorney William McKenzie explained that the county has guidelines in place for the adult inmates used on work crews.

"I am not sure if there is a statute that would allow us to do this with juveniles," he said.

"The biggest concern with the juveniles is that one of them might get injured," he said.

Pittman suggested both he and McKenzie look at state statutes to see what the liability issues would be for the county.

Supervisor Robert Avant suggested that the board look at similar programs in Lauderdale, Pike and Tunica Counties.

"I have the information on the one in Tunica County and I think we need to look at this a little closer before we act on it," Avant said.
The matter was taken under advisement.