Mississippi Supreme Court

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Mississippi Supreme Court
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Court information
Justices:   9
Founded:   1817
Location:   Jackson, Mississippi
Salary
Chief:  $126,000 (Presiding Judge $124k)
Associates:  $122,000
Judicial selection
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   8 years
Active justices

William Waller  •  David Chandler  •  Ann Lamar  •  Jess Dickinson  •  Mike Randolph  •  Jim Kitchens  •  Randy Pierce  •  Leslie King  •  Josiah Coleman  •  

Seal of Mississippi.png

The Supreme Court of Mississippi is the highest court in the state of Mississippi. It has nine justices who are elected from three judicial districts in the state to eight-year terms in non-partisan elections.[1]

In 2008, ten candidates competed for four seats on the high court.[2] The Court building is located in downtown Jackson, Mississippi, the state capital.

The court hears appeals from decisions of the Chancery, Circuit and County Courts, and from the Mississippi Court of Appeals.[1]

Justices

The current justices of the court are:
JudgeTermSelected by
Chief Justice William Waller1996-2020
Associate Justice David Chandler2008-2016
Associate Justice Ann Lamar2007-2016
Presiding Justice Jess Dickinson2004-2018
Presiding Justice Mike Randolph2005-2020
Associate Justice Jim Kitchens2008-2016
Associate Justice Randy Pierce2008-2016
Associate Justice Leslie King2011-2020Gov. Haley Barbour
Associate Justice Josiah Coleman2013-2020


Chief justice

Under state law, the chief justices and two presiding judges are chosen by seniority, however a majority of the court supports moving to a plan where they would elect the chief justice. Oliver Diaz, Chuck Easley and James Graves opposed the plan in 2008.[3]

Upon former Chief Justice James Smith's loss in his 2008 re-election, a new Chief Justice was chosen. The investiture ceremony for Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice William Waller was at 11 a.m. Jan. 8, 2009, in the En Banc Courtroom of the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson, Mississippi.[4]

Jurisdiction

The Mississippi Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction over capital punishment cases, along with annexations, bond issues, constitutionality challenges, death penalty cases, disciplinary matters involving attorneys and judges, election contests, certified questions from federal court, utility rates, cases of first impression and issues of broad public interest.[5]

Judicial selection

Non-partisan elections are staggered so that not all positions are up for election at once, and the nine justices serve eight-year terms. The court consists of one Chief Justice, two presiding justices, and six associate justices. Three judges represent each district, with a total of three geographical justices.

If a vacancy occurs, the governor of the state may appoint a justice. The appointed justice serves the remainder of the term, then must go to election to retain the seat.

Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Mississippi was given a Campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Mississippi received a score of 0.69. Based on the justices selected, Mississippi was the 6th most conservative court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.[6]

Qualifications

According to the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, article VI, §150, "a qualified candidate for the Supreme Court must be a practicing attorney, at least 30 years of age, and a citizen of the state for five years preceding the day of election."[7] The fee for party candidates is $200, made payable to the appropriate state party executive committee.

Removal of justices

"Mississippi judges may be removed on the recommendation of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, the supreme court may censure, remove, or retire a judge.[8], he or she may be impeached by two thirds of the house of representatives and removed by the senate, or may be removed by the governor on the joint address of two thirds of both houses of the legislature."[9]

Mississippi Supreme Court District Map

Caseloads

Fiscal Year Filings Dispositions
2013 1,084 386
2012 1,091 412
2011 844 396
2010 904 433
2009 1,008 382
2008 1,072 479
2007 1,065 475

[10]

The number of filings is the combined amount from the supreme court and court of appeals. Disposition number is for the supreme court only.

Notable decisions

Ethics

Financial disclosure

See also: Center for Public Integrity Study on State Supreme Court Disclosure Requirements

In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Mississippi earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.[11]

History of the court

The first Constitution was created with the creation of the state in 1817. The court was first called the "High Court of Errors and Appeals," and the court's primary role was and is judicial review.

Court floods

The Mississippi Supreme Court rescheduled cases after the new Carroll Gartin Justice Building was flooded in May 2008. The building also houses the Court of Appeals.[12]

Notable firsts

Supreme Court races will renew conflicts

Since the state's first constitution was drafted in 1817, Mississippi has struggled over whether to appoint or elect judges. Historically, the fight erupted between three groups-the "aristocrats" who favored the appointment of all judges, the "half hogs" who wanted to elect some judges and have others appointed, and the "whole hogs" who wanted all judges elected. History shows that the "whole hogs" won in 1832 and Mississippi has been electing judges ever since. However, because of special interest spending that circumvents campaign finance laws, the battle is no longer between "whole hogs" or "aristocrats," but between pro-trial lawyer and pro-business/medical interests.[13]

External links

References

Portions of this article have been taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Copyright Notice can be found here.

2012

CandidateIncumbencyOfficeElection Vote
BanksEarle Banks    NoDistrict 1, Position 145%   DefeatedD
ColemanJosiah Coleman   ApprovedANoDistrict 3, Position 358%   ApprovedA
KingLeslie King   ApprovedAYesDistrict 1, Position 2100%   ApprovedA
RandolphMike Randolph   ApprovedAYesDistrict 2, Position 377%   ApprovedA
PhillipsRichard T. Phillips    NoDistrict 3, Position 342%   DefeatedD
BraddockTalmadge Braddock    NoDistrict 2, Position 323%   DefeatedD
WallerWilliam Waller   ApprovedAYesDistrict 1, Position 155%   ApprovedA

2010

See also: 2010 State Supreme Court elections

Incumbent Jess Dickinson ran unopposed to retain his seat.

Mississippi Supreme Court
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Jess Dickinson (R) BallotCheckMark.png n/a n/a

2008

See also: State Supreme Court elections, 2008

Incumbent James Smith was defeated by challenger Jim Kitchens.

Mississippi Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Jim Kitchens BallotCheckMark.png n/a 55%
James Smith n/a 36%
Ceola James n/a 9%

Incumbent Oliver E. Diaz, Jr. was defeated by challenger Randy Pierce.

Mississippi Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Randy "Bubba" Pierce BallotCheckMark.png n/a 58%
Oliver E. Diaz, Jr. n/a 42%

Incumbent Ann Lamar was defeated by challenger Gene Barton.

Mississippi Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Ann Lamar BallotCheckMark.png n/a 62%
Gene Barton n/a 38%

Incumbent Charles Easley was defeated by challenger David Chandler.

Mississippi Supreme Court
2008 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
David Chandler BallotCheckMark.png n/a 67%
Charles Easley n/a 33%

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