Tag Archives: Madison

Facebook, Friends and Your Judge…

In Madison, Wisconsin a Judge accepting a litigant’s friend request was enough to warrant a new trial by a different Judge.

In 2016, a mother sought sole custody and child support in a modification action against the father. After a two-day evidentiary trial, the Judge gave the parties 10 days to submit proposals on how the Court should rule. After these submissions, but prior to the Court ruling the Judge accepted the mother’s Facebook friend request. This was unknown to the father.

While awaiting a decision, the mother liked 18 of the Judge’s “Facebook posts and commented on two of them.” However, the Judge did not like or comment on any of the mother’s posts, though he did not deny reading them.

In July, the Judge ruled in favor of the mother. That same day, the guardian ad litem for the child learned that the mother had posted on Facebook that “the Honorable Judge granted everything we requested” and then discovered the mother and Judge were Facebook friends. 

The father filed a motion to reconsider, arguing the Facebook frienship created the appearance of impropriety. The Court ruled that he’d made up phis mind prior to the request and denied the father’s motion.

The Wisconsin Appellate Court found that these circumstances clearly created the appearance of impropriety.

The mother’s friend request, and the Judge’s acceptance just prior to a decision “conveys the impression that [the mother] was in a special position to influence [the] Judge’s ultimate decision — a position not available to individuals that he had not ‘friended,’ such as [the father].

The appellate court did state that the “decision does not reach the merits of… [the] ultimate decision on [the mother’s] motion, and we recognize the parties will be required to relitigate their custody and physical placement issues.”

Source: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/wisconsin/2019/02/20/judge-accepted-facebook-friend-request-woman-pending-matter/2925778002/

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney and encourages you NOT to be Facebook friends with your Judge.

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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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.