Judge Rip Prichard Passes

Funeral service for Judge Rip Prichard will be held Dec. 7 in Picayune

A funeral service for former Circuit Judge Robert Ingram “Rip” Prichard, III, will be held Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Picayune. Visitation is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 7 at the church. Burial will be in New Palestine Cemetery.  McDonald Funeral Home in Picayune is handling arrangements.

Judge Prichard, 78, of Carriere, Mississippi, passed away Dec.  2, 2017.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. of Jackson said, “At the time of his retirement in 2010, Judge Prichard was the longest serving trial judge in the state and was the last sitting judge originally appointed by Governor Waller. He was an innovator who gave great leadership to the development  of the Uniform Criminal Rules adopted by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2016. He and I spoke frequently on administrative and rules matters when he was a trial judge and I know of his commitment to the fair, efficient and independent administration of justice. He will be remembered as an outstanding jurist.”

Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam of Sumrall said, “He served south Mississippi for many years, ensuring justice for all.”

Judge Prichard served as circuit judge of the 15th Circuit District for 38 years, from 1972 to 2010. The district is made up of Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion and Pearl River counties.

He was in the private practice of law from 1963-1972 with the Law firm of Stewart & Prichard in Picayune. He served as City Judge of Picayune from 1969 until he took the Circuit Court bench in 1972. He also served as  Youth Court Referee in Pearl River County from 1968-1972.

Judge Prichard served as co-chair of the  Uniform Criminal Rules Study Committee,   which was established by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2004. The committee spent six years conducting an extensive examination of rules which covered every aspect of criminal proceedings from arrest through post-trial motions,  and made recommendations to the Supreme Court for uniform  criminal rules  to govern practice and procedure in justice, municipal, county and circuit courts.  New rules adopted by the Supreme Court went into effect July 1, 2017.

In an announcement published in the Picayune Item shortly before he left the bench, Judge Prichard said, “It is an honor to serve as your senior judge in the 15th Circuit Court District. During my  years on the bench I have worked to provide you with a court system that is responsive, fair, impartial  and consistent….As your circuit judge I have tried to serve the people of Jeff Davis, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion and Pearl  River counties with utmost concern for their rights without regard to race, color, creed, social or economic standing. I have treated each and every case individually, balancing the defendant’s rights with  the victim’s rights and considering the impact of each sentence on the community. I apply the  Constitution and the laws as written and never would I ever attempt to rewrite them.”

Linda Pouncey of Hattiesburg, who served as Judge Prichard’s court administrator for 25 years, said he knew the law well. “He knew more about the law than anybody did. He was just a wonderful person to work with.”

Judge Prichard was admitted to practice in all Mississippi and Alabama courts as well as  federal District Courts and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  He was a member of the Mississippi, Alabama, and American Bar Associations, and a member of American Judicature Society.

He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Robert Ingram Prichard, Jr. and Novello Mayo Prichard. He  grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. He attended McCallie Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and graduated from Murrah High School in Jackson. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS Degree in commerce and business administration in 1960. He earned  LLB and JD Degrees from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1963.

He was a founding member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Alabama and received the national award of Sigma Alpha Epsilon for highest effort in the category of law in 1993. He was a life member of Delta Sigma Pi fraternity. He also was a member of the Commerce Executive Society of the University of Alabama.

He  received the Mississippi  Bar Award for Judicial Excellence on July 13, 2002. He was  an adjunct instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi. He served as vice president,  president and member of the Board of Directors of the Picayune Rotary Club. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Picayune Jaycees,  Picayune Chamber of Commerce and Picayune YMCA. He was a Major in the Civil Air Patrol.

He was an Eagle Scout. He served as an executive board member of the Pine Burr Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was past finance chairman of Pine Burr Area Council and served as District Chairman of the Tung Belt District of the Pine Burr Council of Boy Scouts of America. He received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America in 1993.

Survivors include wife, Marie Hutchinson Prichard; sons Robert “Rip” Ingram Prichard IV and Jeffrey Wayne Prichard; and daughters Chelye Amis and Tonya Ramsay; 10 grandchildren; and 4 great grandchildren.

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