Beam to MSSC

December 29, 2015 § 6 Comments

Chancellor Dawn Beam of Sumrall was appointed yesterday to fill Justice Randy Pierce’s soon-to-be-vacated seat on the MSSC. Her appointment is effective February 15, 2016. She will have to stand for election in November, 2016, as mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Beam’s appointment continues the role of a chancellor on the high court. Pierce was a chancellor before his appointment to the MSSC.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s article on the appointment and Judge Beam’s background are at this link. (You may encounter paywalls and annoying pop-ups and “surveys”)

From this Blog’s perspective, Judge Beam’s appointment is a major positive, since she is a top-notch chancellor, and knowledge of chancery practice and equity sometimes seems a mystery to appellate judges.

I only wish chancellors were not just a token one-seat allocation on each court. A huge portion of Mississippi trial-court practice is in our chancery courts. It’s where most Mississippians experience their everyday contact with our courts — in custody, divorce, probate, property, contract, commitment, and many other issues — that are what chancellors deal with on a regular basis.

And yet, it’s the big-money PI lawyers — defense and plaintiff — and felony-level criminal lawyers, who claim “legitimacy” and elbow aside chancery at the appellate level. That does not exactly serve most Mississippians at the grass-roots level.

We need more chancery representation on the MSSC and COA. Only those who have practiced in chancery court really understand our procedures and how equity operates. So I applaud Judge Beam’s appointment. She will do a superb job on the third floor of the Gartin Justice Building. I only wish we had one more — or a couple more —  to give her a little more support.

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