Judge James D. Maxwell II of Oxford was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Haley Barbour on February 2, 2009. He was later elected in November 2010.
Judge Maxwell received both his undergraduate degree and juris doctorate from the University of Mississippi. He practiced civil law in Jackson before returning to Oxford to serve as Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi. As a federal prosecutor, he represented the United States Department of Justice in numerous prosecutions and jury trials for offenses ranging from public corruption and white collar fraud, to money laundering, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, smuggling, immigration, and gang-related crimes. He also handled appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
While Assistant U.S. Attorney, Judge Maxwell served as Corporate Fraud Coordinator and participated on the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). In 2007, he received the OCDETF Case of the Year Award for his prosecution of “Operation Icebreaker,” a cooperative federal, state, and local law enforcement undercover investigation resulting in the conviction of 31 members of a multi-state methamphetamine trafficking organization. He has also been recognized by the DEA for his contributions to drug enforcement, and has received commendation from the ATF for reducing gun crime in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Judge Maxwell is a past president of the Young Lawyers Division of the Mississippi Bar Association, the Lafayette County Bar Association, and Tri-County Young Lawyers (Calhoun, Lafayette, and Yalobusha Counties). He has also served on the Board of Bar Commissioners, the Mississippi Bar Foundation, the Diversity in the Law Committee, and the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Prosecutors Association. In 2007, the Mississippi Economic Council selected him to participate in Leadership Mississippi, and he was named “Top 40 Under 40” by the Mississippi Business Journal.
Judge Maxwell frequently lectures on appellate and trial advocacy, legal writing, and Mississippi’s judicial system. He and his wife Mindy have two children, Trip and Mae Covington. The Maxwells live in Oxford, where they are active members of First Baptist Church.