Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Chief Justice Awards honor work to improve the judicial system

July 13, 2002

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Edwin L. Pittman named as recipients of this year's Chief Justice Awards former Justice Fred L. Banks Jr., Hattiesburg attorney Carroll H. Ingram and the members of the Board of Bar Commissioners.

The awards are to be presented at the Mississippi Bar Convention on Saturday, July 13, in Sandestin, Fla. The awards recognize the contributions of people whose work helped improve the judicial system.

Banks retired from the Supreme Court on Oct. 31, 2001, and returned to private law practice. At the time he left the court, he was chairman of the court's Rules Committee.

Pittman thanked Banks for his leadership of the Rules Committee in the creation of time standards for the trial courts and for his work on the revision of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Time standards and the code revision were adopted after Banks left the court.

Pittman said, "His leadership on the court, his cooperative, judicious nature and his scholarly approach to our case work and to our rule-making authority is second to none who have ever served on this court."

Ingram, a former state senator, served last year as chairman of the Study Commission on the Mississippi Judicial System. The study commission in December 2001 adopted recommendations addressing elections, campaign finance, judicial salaries, case management and Justice Courts. The 2002 Legislature adopted recommendations to increase the terms of trial judges from four to six years and to eliminate special elections and allow gubernatorial appointees to serve out the term in cases in which a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals with less than half of the term remaining.

Pittman said of Ingram: "His leadership and these results have been excellent and meaningful."

Pittman said the support of the Board of Bar Commissioners was helpful in gaining approval of legislation and in changing court rules. "They have backed up our efforts in the Legislature and in the profession to change some rules and to adopt time standards and the Code of Judicial Conduct," Pittman said.

Members of the Board of Bar Commissioners honored by Pittman include W. C. Trotter III of Belzoni, Richard T. Bennett of Jackson, Donald C. Dornan of Biloxi, Timothy M. Threadgill of Jackson, W. Briggs Hopson of Vicksburg, Robert T. Higginbotham of Jackson, John A. Ferrell of Booneville, William L. McDonough Jr. of Gulfport, Karen J. Young of Gulfport, Steve E. Farese Sr. of Ashland, Charles J. Swayze Jr. of Greenwood, F. Keith Ball of Louisville, David N. Wilkerson of Woodville, R. Brad Sessums of Jackson, Robert L. Gibbs of Jackson, Margaret H. Williams of Jackson, F. Hall Bailey of Jackson, Lynn P. Risley of Jackson, Morris C. Phillips Jr. of Carthage, Robert R. Bailess of Vicksburg, John R. Gunn of Waynesboro, Thomas T. Ross Jr. of Clarksdale, Eugene L. Fair of Hattiesburg, J. David Shoemake of Collins, David H. Strong of McComb, Colette A. Oldmixon of Poplarville, Robert B. Marshall Jr. of West Point, Taylor D. Buntin III of Southaven, Thomas T. Buchanan of Laurel, Karl R. Steinberger of Pascagoula, John W. Chapman of Brandon, Sally Barrett Williamson of Lexington, J. Clifton Thomas Jr. of Hazlehurst and Lisa M. Ross of Jackson.