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
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
Wayne Smith Chancery Court Judge 4, 2
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
Rosalind H. Jordan Chancery Court Judge 6, 2
District 7: Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tunica
Catherine Farris-Carter Chancery Court Judge 7, 1
District 9: Humphreys, Issaquena, Sharkey, Sunflower, Warren, Washington
Jane R. Weathersby Chancery Court Judge 9, 2
Vicki Roach Barnes Chancery Court Judge 9, 3
District 10: Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry
Rhea Sheldon Chancery Court Judge 10, 2
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
James C. Walker Chancery Court Judge 11, 3
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
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
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
District 20: Rankin County
John C. McLauren, Jr. Chancery Court Judge 20, 1
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
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and has practiced in most Chancery Court districts in the State.