/Appeals, Supreme Court races draw competition

Appeals, Supreme Court races draw competition

Three seats on the Mississippi Supreme Court were open for competition by Friday at 5 p.m., and two on Court of Appeals. McComb Legal Services’ Michael T. Shareef, a McComb Legal Services lawyer, filed a last-minute application to run against Justice Dawn Beamof Sumrall of the Supreme Court for the District 2, place 2 seat in South Mississippi. Beam was appointed to the seat left vacant by Randy Pierce in 2016. He is now the director of the Mississippi Judicial College. Shareef was a former candidate in the Southwest Mississippi Chancery Judge race. North Mississippi voters will elect four candidates for the state Supreme Court after Justice Ann H. Lamar announced her retirement at the close of the year. Two Columbus candidates – John Brady, James T. “Jim”, Kitchens – and Bobby Chamberlin of Hernando as well as Steve Crampton from Tupelo, have filed qualifying papers to the Secretary of State’s office for the District 3 seat. Brady is a private practice attorney at the region’s legal powerhouse Mitchell McNutt & Sams. Chamberlin and Kitchens are currently sitting circuit judges who were reelected in 2014. Crampton, of Crampton Law Services, was chief counsel to the American Family Association. He also reportedly represented other Christian groups. Kitchens and Chamberlin are former state senators who have presided over many high-profile criminal cases. They also serve on opposite sides in the Northern Supreme Court District. Kenny Griffis, Ridgeland is challenging incumbent Justice Jim Kitchens from Crystal Springs for the Central Mississippi Supreme Court seat. He was elected from District 1, Place 3. After many years of service as a district attorney in the state, Kitchens became a private-practice lawyer and defeated James W. Smith, then Chief Justice, of Rankin County, in 2008. Griffis is the Mississippi Court of Appeals’ presiding judge and doesn’t have to resign to run for office. His term on the appeals court runs through 2022. Justice Jimmy Maxwell, a Justice from Oxford in District 3, Place 2, was appointed by Gov. in 2016. He is returning to the Supreme Court unopposed. Phil Bryant will fill the vacancy created by David Chandler’s resignation. Chandler is now the head of the state’s child-welfare agency. Beam was a chancery court judge before their appointments. Maxwell was seven years at the Court of Appeals. Latrice Westbrooks (a Jackson attorney) filed qualifying papers against Ceola James of Warren County this week to run for District 2 Place 2 of the Court of Appeals. Ceola is a former judge of chancery courts. After replacing Leslie King as Appeals Judge, James was elected to the court. Central Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Jack L. Wilson of Madison will be facing Madison County Court Judge Ed Hannan of Canton, and Dow Yoder. Edward Hannan is a former assistant U.S. Attorney and special assistant U.S. Attorney. Jim M. Greenlee is a former Northern District U.S. Attorney who has retired to private practice in Oxford. He returns to the Court of Appeals District 1 seat without opposition. Judge David Ishee of Pascagoula, who has been on the Court of Appeals since 2004, also returns to the court without opposition for District 5, Place 2. Multiple contests for open circuit and chancery court seats will also be on the ballot. Voters can choose to vote for candidates from their localities or districts. Not all candidates are available in the state. Mississippi’s judicial candidates are not affiliated with any political party. Other qualified candidates for the Secretary of State’s Office include Coleman, Cobb, and Moffett. They will keep their judgeships with no opponents. The non-partisan judgeships require that a candidate be qualified to vote in the respective district, must be a practicing attorney, and have been a Mississippi citizen for at least five years prior to the election. Candidates for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals must be at least thirty years old and pay a $200 fee. Circuit and chancery judges must be at least 26 and pay a $100 filing fees. Also on the ballot will be candidates for U.S. president and U.S. House. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to our Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.