Welcoming ceremonies scheduled for Judge Chapman

August 8, 2001

Welcoming ceremonies for recently appointed Circuit Judge William E. Chapman III are scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 14, in Brandon and Wednesday, Aug. 15, in Canton.

The Aug. 14 ceremony is set for 4 p.m. at the Rankin County Courthouse in Brandon. The Aug. 15 ceremony is set for 4 p.m. at the Madison County Circuit Court in Canton.

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove appointed Chapman July 3 to fill the unexpired term of former Circuit Judge John T. Kitchens when Kitchens returned to private law practice. Chapman had previously worked for Kitchens as an assistant district attorney.

The 20th Circuit District includes Madison and Rankin counties.

Chapman, 49, of Ridgeland, combines the experience of commercial litigation private practice, prosecutor and assistant secretary of state.

Chapman said, "I was interested in the position because it would allow me to again serve the citizens of Madison and Rankin counties and because I would be able to draw on both my prosecution and civil litigation experience."

"I think that it is very important for a circuit judge to have a varied background," Chapman said. "I enjoy the different aspects of the things that come before me on the bench."

"I truly believe in public service and I believe that I can serve the citizens of Madison and Rankin counties well," Chapman said.

Chapman has family roots in Madison County and grew up in Jackson. He graduated from Provine High School in 1969. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, including in Viet Nam. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine, in 1978 and got his law degree from the Mississippi College School of Law in 1981.

Chapman, a former partner in the law firm of Daniel, Coker, Horton and Bell, started his legal career in commercial civil practice. Creditor representation in bankruptcy proceedings evolved into representing sureties in construction matters. He later represented the banking industry and did attorney malpractice defense.

Chapman left private practice in January1998 to become an assistant district attorney in the 20th District, which includes Madison and Rankin Counties. After two and one-half years as a prosecutor, Chapman joined the Secretary of State's office as assistant secretary of state for business regulation and enforcement. He was responsible for enforcement of securities and charities laws. He worked in that position for about a year before accepting the judicial appointment.

Kitchens said, "I believe, based on his combination of civil and criminal experience, he will be an excellent judge. I think his blended experience will make him an exceptional person to sit on the bench. He has an excellent temperament to be a judge."

Secretary of State Eric Clark said, "He's a good lawyer, but more importantly, he is a very fair and good man. He has a whole lot of common sense, and he will make an outstanding judge."

For more information, call Beverly Pettigrew Kraft, court public information officer, at 601-354-7452.

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