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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    County seeks better law library

    Oktibbeha County Bar Association President Stephanie Mallette and bar member Cecelia Cook are working to improve the law library at the Oktibbeha County Courthouse. Mallette said the law library, which is open to the public, attorneys and inmates, has fallen into a state of disarray over the years.
    The prisoners, especially state prisoners, often use the law library to research their appeals.
    Mallette plans to try to add another source of income for the law library fund by asking the Starkville Board of Aldermen to add a fee for municipal court proceedings to all court fees.
    “There’s a $1.50 assessment collected with every filing fee and fine in the justice court, circuit court and chancery court,” she said. “The first thing we’re trying to do is convince the Board of Aldermen to add a $1.50 assessment to all the municipal court fines as the statute allows.
    “They (the aldermen) want more information, and we’re going to get that to them at their next board meeting. So, hopefully, we can add the $1.50 to the pool that goes to the law library fund with the county,” she added.
    All funds diverted to the law library fund are used solely for upkeep and improvement of the law library.
    Mallette said she also plans to meet with other bar association members and discuss which titles the law library needs. By eliminating some of the titles that are not needed, she hopes to build up funds to purchase more pertinent titles and improve the overall state of the library
    Mallette said the task of revamping the library is made difficult by the fact that no one has taken responsibility for its upkeep.
    “Really, the biggest problem has been nobody wants to do it. Basically, that’s the long and the short of it,” she said. “Everybody keeps saying that it’s somebody else’s responsibility. When they told me it was my responsibility I said ‘OK, fine.’ I’ve picked up the ball, and I’m running with it. Cecelia has been great as well.”
    Mallette said she and Cook sometimes find it difficult to find time to work on the project.
    “I’m a full-time attorney, part-time public defender trying to eke out a living just like all the other attorneys here in Starkville, and any time that I donate to this or Cecelia puts into it is strictly volunteer,” Mallette said. “There’s no rule that says I have to do this, but it’s kind of fallen on my shoulders-not mine specifically, but the bar president’s shoulders-to try and get this done.

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    County seeks better law library