Petal attorney to run for Forrest County Justice Court seat


A Petal attorney has entered the race for the Forrest County Justice Court Judge seat formerly held by longtime judge Pat Causey.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Petal Board of Aldermen, Zach Vaughn, co-founder of Vaughn Law Firm in Petal, told board members he has qualified for the spot. He joins Keith Ball, John Tryner, Anthony McCullum and Christopher Townsend as candidates for the position.

“This is a position I’ve wanted for a long time – I’ve always wanted to do justice court and I’ve always liked it,” Vaughn told the board. “And the reason is, I think it’s a gateway to the Hall of Justice.

“It’s an important position, and it needs to be filled by a person with experience, patience and an understanding of the law.”

Vaughn has served as deputy prosecuting attorney for the 10th Judicial District of Arkansas, as well as Assistant District Attorney for the 12th Judicial District of Mississippi. He owns Vaughn Law Firm along with his wife, Jessica.

“In short, I’m running for this position to serve the citizens of Petal and Forrest County,” Vaughn said. “They deserve an experienced, fair, knowledgeable judge … and I submit that I’m that person.”

The judicial general election will be held on Nov. 6, with a runoff election held Nov. 27 if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote plus one. The winner of the election will fill the seat of Causey, who retired late last year after a 30-year career on the bench.

Since Causey’s retirement, the position has been filled by part-time Petal City Judge Sheila Smallwood, who was appointed by the Forrest County Board of Supervisors to a one-year term starting Jan.1, 2018.

“We appreciate y’all having a business in Petal, and I do think you’ve done a great job over there in court,” Mayor Hal Marx told Vaughn.