Roger H. McMillin reappointed as chief judge of Court of Appeals

January 6, 2003

Judge Roger H. McMillin Jr. of New Albany will serve a second term as chief judge of the Court of Appeals. Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Edwin L. Pittman on Jan. 2 signed an order reappointing McMillin as the administrative head of the Court of Appeals beginning Jan. 5 and continuing through Dec. 31, 2006.

Pittman said on Monday, "He's done an excellent job. He's served without complaint. The Court of Appeals runs efficiently and, insofar as I know, is a very professional, collegiate, cooperative court."

McMillin said, "I'm honored that I was reappointed for an additional term as chief judge of the Court of Appeals. I'm proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the last four years and I hope to continue on that course into the future."

McMillin reappointed Court of Appeals Judges Leslie D. King of Greenville and Leslie H. Southwick of Jackson as presiding judges of the Court of Appeals. The chief judge and the presiding judges preside over three-judge panels hearing cases.

Judges McMillin, King and Southwick have served on the Court of Appeals since it began hearing cases in 1995.

Appellate judges are elected to serve eight-year terms.

The Mississippi Legislature created the Court of Appeals to relieve a backlog of appeals. As of Nov. 12, 2002, the Court of Appeals had decided more than 5,000 cases since its inception, according to Assistant Court Administrator Judy Lacy.

The 10-member Court of Appeals decides appeals assigned to it by the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals typically hears cases in which the law is settled, but the law's application to the facts is in dispute. The Supreme Court may accept or decline to review decisions of the Court of Appeals.

McMillin said the work load of the Court of Appeals "permits the Supreme Court more deliberative time on cases having wider impact on the justice system."

State law and court rules require cases to be decided within 270 days of the filing of the final brief. The Court of Appeals' average time for rendering a decision is 193 days, Lacy said.

McMillin said, "I see it as our duty to keep things moving through the system as expeditiously as possible." However, he noted that the court must strike a balance between expeditious decisions and thoughtful deliberations.

McMillin said, "It is important that the cases get the attention and the time devoted to them that they need. We have never tried to speed up the process at the expense of giving the cases the time and proper attention they need in terms of the merits of the cases."