Mississippi judges will be taking their oaths soon. The new judicial terms begin on January 1st, 2019 and 42 new judges across the state will take their oaths of office in ceremonies scheduled during the next three weeks.
The new judges include three new Court of Appeals judges, 20 new Chancery Court judges, nine new Circuit Court judges and 10 new County Court judges. Among those are Two Mississippi legislators, Representative Willie Perkins, and Representative Adrienne Wooten, who each won a judicial seat during the recent November elections.
Judicial oath ceremonies are scheduled for Dec. 18 in Madison County, Dec. 19 in Rankin County, and on Dec. 27 and Jan. 2 in Hinds County.
- December 18 at 10 a.m., Madison County Circuit Court in Canton, new 20th District Circuit Judge Dewey Arthur will take the oath of office. Incumbent Circuit Judges John H. Emfinger and Steve Ratcliff and incumbent Madison County Court Judges Edwin Hannan and Staci O’Neal also will take the oath of office.
Arthur, 42, has been an assistant district attorney in the 20th Circuit District of Madison and Rankin counties for almost eight years. He previously served as assistant district attorney in the Ninth Circuit Court of Warren, Sharkey and Issaquena counties for more than three years. He is a graduate of Mississippi College and Mississippi College School of Law.
- December 19 at 10 a.m., Rankin County Justice Center in Brandon, new 20th Chancery District Chancellor Troy F. Odom will take the oath of office. Incumbent Chancellors Haydn Roberts and John C. McLaurin Jr. also will take the oath of office. New Circuit Judge Dewey Arthur will take the oath again at the Rankin County ceremony, along with incumbent Circuit Judges Emfinger and Ratcliff and Rankin County Court Judges Kent McDaniel and Thomas Broome.
Odom, 43, has served as Pearl city prosecutor for a year and a half, since July 1, 2017. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he majored in psychology. He earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
- December 27 at 9 a.m., Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson, Courtroom No. 1, new Hinds Circuit Judges Faye Peterson and Adrienne Wooten and Hinds County Court Judge Johnnie McDaniels will take the oath of office. Incumbent Circuit Judges Tomie Green and Winston Kidd and incumbent Hinds County Court Judges Melvin Priester Sr. and LaRita Cooper Stokes also will take the oath of office.
Peterson, 54, served as Hinds County District Attorney 2001–2007. She served as a family master in Hinds Chancery Court 2009-2018. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Jackson State University and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law.
Wooten, 44, served in the Mississippi House of Representatives for the past 10 years, representing District 71 of Hinds and Rankin counties. She served as assistant public defender in Holmes County for the past 15 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alcorn State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
McDaniels, 52, served as executive director of the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center for the past three years. He was a Jackson city prosecutor for 13 years, and also served as Utica Municipal Court Judge. The Port Gibson native earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University and a law degree from the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- December 27 at 3:30 p.m., Warren County Courthouse in Vicksburg. Ninth District Circuit Judge Toni Walker Terrett will take the oath of office. Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Leslie D. King and Court of Appeals Judge Latrice A. Westbrooks will speak. Circuit Judge James Chaney Jr. will preside. Judge Terrett’s predecessor, Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick, will administer the oath of office.
Terrett, 44, has served as Municipal Judge for the city of Vicksburg since 2013. She previously served as judge pro tempore and Community Court judge beginning in 2009. She was a coordinator of the Vicksburg Domestic Violence Victims Empowerment Program. While in private law practice, she also served as a Drug Court public defender and worked for Legal Services, providing civil legal representation to low-income clients. She began her legal career as a law clerk for Chancellor Vicki Roach Barnes. Terrett earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Tougaloo College, a Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Memphis, and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law.
- January 2 at 10 a.m., Hinds County Chancery Court, Courtroom No. 3 in Jackson, new Hinds County Chancellor Crystal Wise Martin will take the oath of office. Judge Martin will take the judicial position in which her mother, Chancellor Patricia Wise, served for almost 30 years. Judge Wise will give the oath of office to her daughter.
Martin, 46, served as attorney for the Hinds County Board of Supervisors for about six years. She previously served as special master in Hinds County Chancery Court, and as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Hinds County. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Spelman College, a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law. She is a past president of the Magnolia Bar Association. She is a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and serves on the Board of Trustees. She was chair of the Hurricane Katrina Relief Committee of the Mississippi Association for Justice and is a member of the Board of Governors. She is the minority delegate for the state of Mississippi to the American Association for Justice.
- January 2 at 1 p.m., Hinds County Chancery Court, Jackson, new Hinds County Chancellor Tiffany Grove will take the oath of office. Court of Appeals Judge Donna Barnes will give the oath of office to Grove, who previously worked as her law clerk.
Grove, 39, is president-elect of the Capital Area Bar Association, CABA. The Mississippi Women Lawyers Association named her Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2018. She was chair of the Women in the Profession Committee of the Mississippi Bar for two years. She previously served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Leslie Southwick when he was a member of the Mississippi Court of Appeals, then as law clerk to Court of Appeals Judge Donna M. Barnes. She is a graduate of the Honors College at the University of Southern Mississippi and earned a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law.