Judge Virginia Carter Carlton has served as an Associate Judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals since January 2007. Judge Carlton has spent her career in public service. She served as State Representative for Mississippi House District 100 from January 2004 to December 2006. She also served as an assistant district attorney, county public defender, U.S. Army JAG officer, USAR military judge, and Mississippi Supreme Court law clerk.
As a JAG officer, Judge Carlton served the Army in legal positions including prosecutor, defense counsel, deputy staff judge advocate, staff judge advocate and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Army in Hawaii. She was merit selected to serve as a military trial judge in the USAR, where she presided over courts-martial. She was subsequently merit selected to serve as an associate appellate judge on the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, where she participated in approximately 90 cases and served as lead judge in 40 cases.
Upon retirement from the military in February 2015, Judge Carlton held the rank of Colonel with more than 24 years of service. She was awarded the following military awards and medals: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (7th Award), Army Commendation Medal (4th Award), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (1st Award), and Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with M Device and with 10 year device). She was also awarded a foreign badge, the German Sports Medal, during her tour of duty in Germany, and the Mississippi Magnolia Cross by the Mississippi National Guard and Governor Phil Bryant.
Judge Carlton attended the University of Mississippi for her undergraduate and law school education. She received her B.B.A. degree in 1986 and earned her Juris Doctorate in 1989. As an Ole Miss undergraduate, she served in the campus senate and was a member of the Chi Omega sorority, Tau chapter. She also served in many organizations during law school, including the Mississippi Law Journal, the Moot Court Board and its Executive Board, and Mays Inn of Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity (clerk). She continued her professional education in the military, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and Staff College as well as the U.S. Army War College.
Judge Carlton actively contributes to the bench and bar. She served on the Mississippi Children's Justice Commission for three years and she also served on various other study commissions and advisory groups. She served as an adjunct professor at both Mississippi College School of Law and Belhaven University. She is a director and board member of the North Jackson Rotary Club, Jackson Prep PAT and Applause Board, Chi Omega Sorority Alumni, and the Jackson Symphony League. She previously served as a board member of the Tri-Community Fire Department and as a member of the Junior Auxiliary Club in Marion County. Judge Carlton is a member of Official First Families of Mississippi, for which she serves as Chancellor General. She often teaches continuing education classes at the request of the Mississippi Bar and other organizations.
Judge Carlton is admitted to practice in Mississippi and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. She is both a member and a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Association and of the American Bar Association. In 2010, she was named one of the top 50 women in business by the Mississippi Business Journal. In 2013, she was named as a woman of the year by the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women for her military service. When serving as a State Representative, Judge Carlton was named Outstanding Legislator for Juvenile Justice and as a Friend of Adult Education.
Judge Carlton is a native of Columbia, Mississippi, and currently resides with her family near her duties at the court in Jackson, Mississippi. She is married to Dr. Scott Carlton, a family physician and Lieutenant Colonel in the Mississippi Army National Guard. The Carltons have three children and are members of First Baptist Church in Jackson.