Tag Archives: election

14th District Chancery Race is On! Starkville, Columbus, Houston, Okolona and more…

The State of Mississippi is divided into twenty Chancery Court districts. The Fourteenth Chancery Court District includes Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Webster Counties.


There are three chancellors for the 14th district and all of them are retiring. Today’s post is about the Honorable Kenneth Burns‘ position. Judge Burns, first elected in 2003, has set a high standard for the future Judge to follow in his robe, er…footsteps.

So far, five candidates have qualified,  guaranteeing a runoff.

Elizabeth Fox Ausbern 

This candidate has been practicing law since 1993, the majority of which has been devoted to the area of chancery law. Her office is in Houston, MS.

In my personal life, I have been faced with divorce and now the death of someone I love dearly. I know my personal experiences will equip me to empathize with those individuals before the court.

The voting area will encompass Chickasaw and Webster counties and the precincts of South Adaton, South Longview, South Starkville, West Starkville, Sturgis/North Bradley, Self Creek:Double Springs, Center Gove/ North and Craig Springs/ South of Oktibbeha County.

Gene Barton

Barton, practicing for over 40 years, is from Okolona, MS. He has a general practice and approximately half of which is family law related.

Todd Bennett 

Practicing since 2007, Bennett handles domestic and real estate cases in Houston, MS and the surrounding area. These are matters heard in Chancery Court.

On January 5th, I qualified with the MS Secretary of State’s office to be a candidate for Chancery Judge 14th District, Place 1… Since my practice started in 2007, I have almost exclusively practiced in the areas covered by the Chancery Court… I only ask three things of those who read this. First, pray for me as I embark on this new adventure, no matter the results. Second, please share this post with your family and friends, especially those that will vote for Place 1. Third, please consider voting on November 6th for me to be your next Chancery Judge 14th District, Place 1.

Rodney Faver 

Faver is a partner in the law firm of Ward, Rogers & Faver, PLLC located in… Starkville, Mississippi. His firm provides a broad range of services to clients… with a special emphasis in Litigation, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury and Divorce cases.

Rodney P. Faver has over 27 years of trial experience in both Mississippi and Florida. Mr. Faver has dedicated his diverse legal career to the pursuit of justice for the people he represents, and is dedicated to the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Lee Ann Turner 

Turner devotes most of her practice to family law and other chancery court matters at The Winfield Law Firm, P.A., in Starkville, MS. Since 2009 she has been appointed as a Special Master for commitments and Youth Court Referee for Oktibbeha County, served on dozens of cases as a Guardian Ad Litem to protect children’s interests in Chancery Court matters, is the Starkville School District’s Student Disciplinary Hearing Officer, and serves on the Board of Directors for Safe Haven, a domestic violence shelter located in Columbus.  Lee Ann is frequently asked to speak at continuing legal education seminars (CLE’s) and most recently gave a presentation on ethics at the Mississippi Judicial College’s Youth Court Judges’ Fall 2017 training seminar.   Lee Ann was also selected as one of Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women for the class of 2009 by the Mississippi Business Journal.

J.D. in 1996 from the University of Alabama School of Law,  Editor-in-Chief of the Law and Psychology Review, a member of the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society, Phi Delta Phi, and Managing Editor of the Law School newspaper.

Before entering private practice in 2003, Lee Ann spent nearly 6 years as the Staff Attorney for the 14th District Chancery Court of the State of Mississippi, working for Chancellors Dorothy W. Colom, Kenneth M. Burns, Robert L. Lancaster, James S. Gore, and Woodrow W. Brand.

The Candidate bios are piecemealed together by me. Information regarding the candidates was not always easily ascertainable. I provided links to their FaceBook pages, personal firm pages or the source of the information quoted above.

Matthew Thompson is a Chancery Court practitioner and will continue to update the Chancery judge races throughout this campaign season.


Judicial Elections; Picking “Your” Divorce Judge

It is the season of qualifying for Judicial candidates.


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.


Judge Election Update: Rankin Chancery, Madison Chancery Judge Elections; Roberts in Rankin, Walker in Madison…

The votes are in. Rankin County is getting a new Family Law Judge, and so is Madison, Leake, Yazoo and Holmes Counties.

Haydn Roberts– current Family Master, former staff attorney has been elected to be the third Chancellor for Rankin County.  This position was recently created by the legislature due to population increases in Rankin County and is much needed and will be a welcomed relief to ease the docket crowding currently in Rankin County.

Roberts stated he was “[E}xcited…I’m going to give everything in me, of course. Looking forward to…Court.

James Walker– current Family Master, former staff attorney and DHS attorney handily won the 20th Chancery District race. This too was created by the legislature due to population increases in the district.

Walker released a statement, “I am deeply humbled and appreciative to be the next Chancery Judge for Madison, Leake, Holmes, and Yazoo Counties. This could not have been done without the support of my friends and family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Last, but not least, thanks to the fine citizens of the 11th District for allowing me to serve you as your next Chancery Judge.”

Both candidates worked hard for their respective positions, campaigned with vigor and integrity and have the experience and demeanor to be great.

The Family Law Judiciary in Mississippi just got better!

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and can handle your family law matter in Rankin, Madison, Leake, Holmes or Yazoo counties, as well as throughout the State.

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