Gov. Tate Reeves appointed Hinds County Court Judge Carlyn M. Hicks to a term extending through Jan. 3, 2022.
Judge Hicks has served by the temporary appointment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph since July 14. The Chief Justice issued a temporary appointment order on July 9 and swore in Judge Hicks on July 14 to fill the Hinds County Court vacancy created by the June 3 retirement of Judge Melvin V. Priester Sr. Judge Hicks presides over the Hinds County Youth Court.
The Governor said that a special election will be held on Nov. 2, 2021.
Judge Hicks said, “I’m honored and humbled by the confidence Governor Reeves has placed in me to further carry out these judicial duties. I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve the children, youth, and families of Hinds County.”
She said, “In the time that I’ve served thus far, we have safely reduced the number of children in foster care, focused on rehabilitative alternatives for at-risk youth, and worked collaboratively to connect vulnerable families to communities and support.”
Judge Hicks, 36, of Jackson, served as director of the Mission First Legal Aid Office, a pro bono initiative of Mississippi College School of Law, from August 2017 until her appointment to the bench. She oversaw the operations of staff and volunteers who provide legal services to more than 1,200 low-income clients annually in Hinds, Madison, and Rankin counties. She began work with Mission First as a student volunteer, became a staff attorney in September 2010, then represented indigent parents in Youth Court through the Mission First Legal Aid program for almost five years.
She has worked to improve child welfare policy at the national and state level. She is a member of the Mississippi Children’s Justice Commission Parent Representation Task Force and the Mississippi Court Improvement Program Multidisciplinary Team. She is a member of the Board of Directors of CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Mississippi. She was a service provider representative on the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission. She was one of only three Mississippi attorneys certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children, accredited by the American Bar Association. She is the only judge in the state who has certification as a Child Welfare Law Specialist.
Judge Hicks is a member of the American Bar Association National Alliance for Parent Representation Steering Committee, the ABA Family Justice Initiative National Advisory Committee, and the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute Advisory Board. She is chair of the Mississippi Bar Child Welfare and Child Advocacy Committee and chair of Pro Bono and Community Outreach for the Capital Area Bar Association.
Judge Hicks has served since 2015 as a clinical adjunct professor at the Mississippi College School of Law Child Welfare and Family Justice Clinic. She previously taught Constitutional law for a year in the Jackson State University Department of Political Science.
Judge Hicks earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Jackson State University in 2006, and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law in 2010. She was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in September 2010. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Mississippi College in 2012. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in public administration at JSU.