Pieter Teeuwissen has officially been sworn in as county court judge for the second subdistrict of Hinds County.
Governor Tate Reeves on November 27 appointed Teeuwissen to the position to fill the vacancy left by the late LaRita Cooper-Stokes, the spouse of Jackson city councilman Kenneth Stokes.
Teeuwissen has served as a board attorney for Hinds County for over six years. He has also represented Jackson as its city attorney for over nine years and as special circuit judge for the seventh judicial district in the county.
“Hinds County is an important place. It is near and dear to my heart. If you don’t think that the judges across the street and the judges in this building are important, then you don’t understand the value of Hinds County,” Teeuwissen said. “Bear in mind at all times the words of Martin Luther King: ‘The moral arc of the universe bends slowly, but it bends towards justice.’ It is humbling and it is an honor to help bend that moral arc of justice for the citizens of Hinds County.”
Judge James E. Graves, Jr. of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has known Teeuwissen since the new judge was a student at Tougaloo College. Graves, a Clinton native, gave his full endorsement with expectations that Teeuwissen would serve with integrity as a judge.
“What he demonstrated to me and many others is that he is a visionary leader. What I saw is a man who identified problems and then devised solutions to those problems – legal problems, practical problems, people problems. That’s what he has been involved in doing throughout his entire career, and those are great qualities for a judge to possess – the ability to solve problems,” Graves said.
“He has evidenced an unwavering commitment to public service. I am convinced that he is the right person at the right time and we can all count on him to do the right thing. I have no doubt that he will serve with honor because the people deserve it, dignity because his family expects it, and integrity because God requires it.”
The newly sworn-in judge’s term began on Monday. Reeves will call a special election to be held on November 5, 2024. Whoever wins the special election will serve the remainder of the four-year term.