Wayne Thompson appointed Jones County Court Judge

Gov. Phil Bryant Appoints M. Wayne Thompson Jones County Court Judge

JACKSON – Gov. Phil Bryant announced today that he has appointed M. Wayne Thompson Jones County Court Judge.

Thompson will replace Gaylon Harper, who is retiring on Dec. 31. Thompson’s appointment will be effective on Jan. 1. The seat will appear on the ballot in November 2018.

“I appreciate Judge Harper’s service to the people of Jones County and wish him well upon his retirement,” Gov. Bryant said. “Wayne’s experience practicing law in both the public and private sector make him a good fit to replace Judge Harper, and I am grateful he has accepted this appointment.”

Thompson has served as Jones County prosecuting attorney since 1997. He has served as attorney for the Jones County Board of Supervisors since 2005. Since 2015, Thompson has represented the Jones County Economic Development Authority and the South Mississippi Fair Commission. He also maintains a private practice.

“I look forward to serving the people of Jones County in this new position, and I appreciate the trust Governor Bryant has placed in me to do the work of county judge.”

Thompson graduated from Jones County Junior College and Mississippi State University, where he received a bachelor of business administration in 1992. He received his juris doctorate from University of Mississippi School of Law in 1995.

He is past president of the Jones County Bar Association and the Jones County Young Lawyers Bar Association. He and his wife, Tina McDonnieal Thompson, have been married 20 years. They have three children.

Supreme Court Oral Argument Schedule

2016-CA-01488-SCT Biel Reo, LLC v. Lee Freyer Kennedy Crestview, LLC and Lee Freyer Kennedy
Monday, December 11, 2017
1:30 p.m.

2016-CA-01429-SCT Samuel Wilcher, Jr. v. Lincoln County Board of Supervisors and City of Brookhaven, Mississippi
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
1:30 p.m.

2016-CA-01275-SCT Presbytery of St. Andrew, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Inc. v. First Presbyterian Church PCUSA of Starkville, Mississippi
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
10:30 a.m.

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.

Supreme Court wants to take control of Special Committee away from Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker.

The Supreme Court has given notice for comments about a change to the Code of Judicial Conduct that would take the appointments to the Special Committee away from the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker, and give these appointments to Presiding Justice Mike Randolph, Presiding Justice Jim Kitchens, Justice Josiah Coleman, and COA Chief Judge Joe Lee.  The Chief will retain his selection.

The fact that the Committee members have been selected by individual non-attorney elected officials was probably the only good part of this rule.  Last month, the Court admitted that the old rule was flawed and did not have basic due process protections.  Now, the Court want’s control of the Committee members.  Here is what has been put out for comment.

Comments should be filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Gartin Justice Building, P.O. Box 249, Jackson, Mississippi 39205-0249. Deadline: Tuesday, December 5, 2017.

Canon 5F – Mississippi Code of Judicial Conduct

F. Special Committee–Proceedings and Authority. In every year in which an election is held for Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, chancery court, circuit court or county court judge in this state and at such other times as the Supreme Court may deem appropriate, a Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention (“Special Committee”) shall be created whose responsibility shall be to issue advisory opinions and to deal expeditiously with allegations of ethical misconduct in campaigns for judicial office. The committee shall consist of five (5) members. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the senior justices of Supreme Court Districts 1, 2, and 3, excluding the Chief Justice; and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Mississippi Legislature and the chair of the Commission on Judicial Performance (Commission) shall each appoint one member. Those appointed by the Chief Justice, the Governor and the chair of the Commission All members shall be attorneys licensed to practice in the state. No person shall be appointed to serve as a member of a Special Committee for the year in which such person is a candidate for judicial office. Should the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court expect to be a candidate for judicial office during the year for which a Special Committee is to be appointed the Chief Justice shall declare such expectation, and in such event, the appointment which otherwise would have been made by the Chief Justice shall be made by the next senior justice of the Supreme Court who is not otherwise charged with appointing authority under this Canon and not seeking judicial office in such year. Should a senior justice of Supreme Court Districts 1, 2, or 3, excluding the Chief Justice, expect to be a candidate for judicial office during such a year, the next senior justice of the same Supreme Court District who is not otherwise charged with appointing authority and is not seeking judicial office shall make the appointment. Likewise, should the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals expect to be a candidate for judicial office during such a year, the next senior judge of the Court of Appeals who is not seeking judicial office shall make the appointment. Likewise, should the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives or chair of the Commission expect to seek judicial office during such year, that official shall declare such expectation, and the appointment which otherwise would have been made by such appointing authority shall be made, respectively: by the Lieutenant Governor if the Governor expects to seek such an office; by the President Pro Tem of the Senate if the Lieutenant Governor expects to seek such an office; by the Speaker Pro Tem of the House of Representatives if the Speaker expects to seek such an office; and by the vice-chair of the Commission if the chair expects to seek such an office. Any action taken by the Special Committee shall require a majority vote. Each Special Committee shall be appointed no later than March 1 February 1 in the year of their service, and it shall continue in existence for ninety (90) days following such judicial elections or for so long thereafter as is necessary to consider matters submitted to it within such time. The Commission shall provide administrative support to the Special Committee. Should any appointing authority fail to make an appointment, three members shall constitute a sufficient number to conduct the business of the Special Committee. The objective of the Special Committee shall be to alleviate unethical and unfair campaign practices in judicial elections, and to that end, the Special Committee shall have the following authority: . . .