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.

Maxwell to MSSC

December 28, 2015 § 1 Comment

Reshaping of the MSSC is continuing with the appointment of Judge Jimmy Maxwell of the COA to the high court seat being vacated by Justice David Chandler. The appointment to the North Mississippi District seat, is effective January 1, 2016. Maxwell will have to run in a judicial election in November, 2016.

Chandler’s resignation earlier this month, to assume leadership of the state’s troubled foster-care program, created the vacancy to which Maxwell is appointed. Only the timing is surprising. It was widely known that Justice Chandler did not intend to run again when his term ended in 2016. Multiple sources said that Maxwell intended to run for Chandler’s seat if he did not run again.

One soon-to-be-vacant MSSC seat remains to be filled. Justice Randy Pierce is stepping aside to take over leadership of the Mississippi Judicial College, effective February 1, 2016.

Maxwell’s appointment will in turn mean a vacancy on the COA that will have to be filled from District One, which is the northeastern area of the state.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s article on Judge Maxwell’s appointment is at this link. (You might encounter a paywall and annoyances like pop-ups and “surveys”)

A previous post on changes to the MSSC is here.

All of the 2015 judicial appointees, at both appellate and trial levels, will have to stand for election in 2016. This latest round of appointments, along with previous appointments and other appellate races that are expected to be contested, will make for an interesting judicial election cycle in 2016.



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