Tag Archives: chancellor election

Judicial Elections; Picking “Your” Divorce Judge

It is the season of qualifying for Judicial candidates.

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From now through May, persons qualified to run, may throw their hat in the ring to become your next family law judge. The requirements are fairly basic for Chancellor;  be at least 26 years of age, a practicing attorney for five years, and a citizen of the state for five years. Miss. Const. of 1890, Art. 6, §§153 and 154; Miss. Code Ann. §9-5-1, and pay a fee of $100 to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Below is the current listing and the geographical area that the Judges are in. There will be many more persons qualifying in the coming weeks.

District 1: Alcorn, Itawamba, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Lee, Tishomingo, Union

Stephen T. Bailey Chancery Court Judge 1, 4 *(The first number is the District, the second is the place.)

Bailey was recently appointed after the resignation of T.K. Moffett. Bailey was a solid choice for the appointment and will likely win even if opposed.

Jacqueline Mask Chancery Court Judge 1, 3

Current Chancellor.

Judge John Hatcher just announced his retirement which will mean another spot is available in this District.

District 4: Amite, Franklin, Pike, Walthall
Debbra K. Halford Chancery Court Judge 4, 1

Current Chancellor.

Wayne Smith Chancery Court Judge 4, 2

Current Chancellor.

District 5: Hinds County
Dewayne Thomas Chancery Court Judge 5, 1

Current Chancellor. Judge Thomas will have this position for as long as he wants it.

Hinds County will be very interesting to watch as the three other current Chancellors, Owens, Singletary, and Wise, have all considered retirement.

District 6: Attala, Carroll, Choctaw, Kemper, Neshoba, Winston
Joseph Kilgore Chancery Court Judge 6, 1

Current Chancellor.

Rosalind H. Jordan Chancery Court Judge 6, 2

District 7: Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tunica
Catherine Farris-Carter Chancery Court Judge 7, 1

Current Chancellor.

District 9: Humphreys, Issaquena, Sharkey, Sunflower, Warren, Washington
Jane R. Weathersby Chancery Court Judge 9, 2

Current Chancellor.

Vicki Roach Barnes Chancery Court Judge 9, 3

Current Chancellor.

District 10: Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry
Rhea Sheldon Chancery Court Judge 10, 2

Current Chancellor.

Vanessa Jones Chancery Court Judge 10, 3

This is a race to watch. Judge Williams, I believe, is retiring, and this a large area with lots of attorneys and will be interesting to see who qualifies.

District 11: Holmes, Leake, Madison, Yazoo
Cynthia Lee Brewer Chancery Court Judge 11, 2

Current Chancellor.

James C. Walker Chancery Court Judge 11, 3

Current Chancellor.

I do not expect challengers to either sitting Judge, but it could happen.

District 12: Clarke, Lauderdale
Frances Smith Stephenson Chancery Court Judge 12, 1
Charles E. “Charlie” Smith Chancery Court Judge 12, 1

This is another race to watch. Long serving Judge Mason is retiring and there are multiple quality candidates for this position.

District 13: Covington, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Simpson, Smith
Gerald M. Martin  Chancery Court Judge 13, 2

Current Chancellor.

District 14: Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster
Gene Barton Chancery Court Judge 14, 1
Lee Ann Turner Chancery Court Judge 14, 1
Paula Drungole-Ellis Chancery Court Judge 14, 3
Roy A. Perkins Chancery Court Judge 14, 3

The judicial race for Starkville, Columbus, Westpoint, etc. will be fun to watch. All three current chancellors, Colom, Burns and Davidson, are retiring. This means there will be three new family law judges for this district. I expect a lot of candidates and several of the more talked about names have not yet qualified.

District 15: Copiah, Lincoln
Joseph Durr Chancery Court Judge 15

Judge Ed Patten is retiring.

District 16: George, Greene, Jackson- MS Coast (eastern half)
D. Neil Harris, Sr. Chancery Court Judge 16, 1

Current Chancellor.

Gary L. Roberts Chancery Court Judge 16, 2
David M. Allen Chancery Court Judge 16, 3
David C. Frazier Chancery Court Judge 16, 3
Mark A. Maples Chancery Court Judge 16, 3

District 18: Benton, Calhoun, Lafayette, Marshall, Tippah
Lawrence L. “Larry” Little Chancery Court Judge 18,1

Bob Whitwell Chancery Court Judge 18, 2

Current Chancellor.

District 20: Rankin County
John C. McLauren, Jr. Chancery Court Judge 20, 1

Current Chancellor.

Mel Coxwell Chancery Court Judge 20, 2
Troy F. Odom Chancery Court Judge 20, 2

Place 2 is a race to watch. Judicial stalwart John Grant is retiring and I expect 3-5 candidates for this position. It will also be a close race as those qualified, and expected to be, are all great candidates.

Haydn J. Roberts Chancery Court Judge 20, 3

Current Chancellor.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and has practiced in most Chancery Court districts in the State.

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You CAN Pick Your Judge! Rankin Chancery & Madison Chancery

Tuesday, November 3, 2015, is election day.

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There are a myriad of candidate seats, but this post concerns the local Family Law Judge races.

Madison, Leake, Holmes and Yazoo Counties.

Two candidates are vying for this seat.

#1  James C. Walker

The front-runner for this seat is James Walker. Walker has the backing of the majority of Family Law and Chancery practitioners in the district. Walker has also worked the beat for this seat. Walker has been at almost every festival, civic event, meet and greet and ribbon cutting in all four counties. If you do not know about this candidate, who he is and what he stands for at this point, it is not for his lack of effort. Walker is the current Family Master for the District; hearing Emergency Petitions,Temporary Hearings and the types of matters the current Chancellors hear. Walker is the former staff attorney for Judge Cynthia Brewer, former staff attorney for DHS and has his own private Chancery practice law firm.

Pearlene Jones

Attorney, Pearlene Jones is the other candidate that has qualified to run.  She is a resident of Lexington,  in Holmes County. She formerly served as the County Prosecutor for Holmes County, a part-time, elected position.

Attorney Jones has been at events local to Holmes County, but I am unaware of any significant campaigning in the other counties.

James Walker will hands-down be elected to this post.

Rankin County

Rankin Counties race will be closer. There are 4 really good candidates for one spot.

#1 Haydn Roberts

I think Roberts is the front-runner due to having previously served as the Staff Attorney in Rankin County for Judges Grant and Fairly for the past eight years. He has been involved “in over 10,000 cases. Roberts is also serving as the Family Master. The Family Master is a part-time Judge hearing Emergency Petitions,Temporary Hearings and DHS matters.

Prentiss M.  Grant

Prentiss Grant “has lived and built his law practice in Rankin County for the past twenty-six years. Prentiss’ law practice is concentrated in family law, and eighty percent of his cases are tried in Rankin Chancery Court.”

Rusty Williard 

Rusty Williard has “spent 30 years trying Chancery cases and 15 years [in] Rankin County.”  Williard is a self-proclaimed “ruthless defender of the rights of children in chancery court and with juvenile defense matters, he is currently a certified Guardian Ad Litem as well as a Youth Court advocate.

James (Jim) M. Nix

Jim Nix, who I affectionately referred to as the ghost, has come on strong.  He is running a “grass roots” campaign and not accepting any campaign contributions.  “He has over 35 years experience in Chancery Law, is not a part of the Rankin County Power Group.” I called him the ghost because at qualifying time he was a relative “unknown” candidate. Since that time i have educated myself and I like Jim Nix.

For that matter, I like all 4 candidates. Rankin County would be well served by any of the candidates, but only one will win.  I predict the necessity of a run-off. I think it will be between Roberts and Grant, but I think it will be a close race.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and encourages all citizens to vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.

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*Thompson Law Firm has contributed to the James Walker campaign and was on the Host Committee for a Meet and Greet for the Candidate.