Investiture of Judge Virginia Carlton is Jan. 29

January 19, 2007

An investiture ceremony for Judge Virginia Carlton, the newest member of the Mississippi Court of Appeals, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29 in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the Capitol in Jackson.

Gov. Haley Barbour will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers are Claiborne “Buddy” McDonald of Picayune, Judge Carlton’s former boss, who recently retired as district attorney of the 15th Circuit District, and Phyllis Taylor of New Orleans, chairwoman and CEO of Taylor Energy Corporation. Taylor, an attorney and longtime friend of Judge Carlton, owns a ranch in Marion County. She is president of the Patrick F. Taylor Education Foundation, which promotes access to higher education for all qualified students nationwide. Judge Carlton shares Taylor’s passion for access to education for young people, and they have worked together in the past to promote education opportunities, on civic programs and on legislation.

Frank Carlton of Greenville, former district attorney for the 4th Circuit District and father-in-law of Judge Carlton, will welcome and introduce guests.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Leslie D. King will administer the ceremonial oath of office. Judge Carlton took the oath of office Jan. 2 before members of the Court of Appeals in Jackson. It is traditional to have a formal investiture ceremony, including a ceremonial administering of the oath, at a later time.

Judge Carlton’s husband, Dr. Scott Carlton, and their three children, will assist with the enrobing ceremony. Judge Carlton will speak after the enrobing ceremony.

Members of the U.S. Army Reserve 3rd Personnel Command, where Judge Carlton serves as Staff Judge Advocate, will post the colors. Rev. James Carney, pastor of Woodlawn Pentecostal Church in Columbia, will give the invocation and the benediction. Rep. E. Gregory Snowden of Meridian, Judge Carlton’s former legislative colleague, will close the ceremony.

Judge Carlton, 42, of Columbia, was elected in November to an eight-year term on the Court of Appeals. She took the position previously held by Judge Leslie Southwick, who did not seek re-election. The 15-county 4th Court of Appeals District includes parts of Hinds and Jones counties and all of Adams, Amite, Copiah, Covington, Franklin, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Simpson, Walthall and Wilkinson counties.

Judge Carlton previously served for three years in the House of Representatives from District 100, which includes Jefferson Davis, Lamar and Marion counties. She served on six House committees: Education, Universities and Colleges, Judiciary B, Juvenile Justice, Labor, and Marine Resources. In 2005, the Mississippi Juvenile Justice Advisory Group name her as one of three Distinguished Legislators for Juvenile Justice Causes. The Mississippi Association for Adult and Community Education named her as South Mississippi Friend of Education of the Year for 2005.

She served on the state Drug Court Advisory Committee, which developed rules and fiscal policies for the operation of drug courts. Eighteen drug courts operate statewide.

She is a former assistant district attorney for the 15th Circuit Court District and a former public defender. She worked as a forensic child abuse investigation instructor for the Southwest Mississippi Children’s Advocacy Center in McComb.

Judge Carlton served in the military for more than 16 years. She currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She remains a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, where she serves as a Judge Advocate(JAG) officer. She is Staff Judge Advocate for the 3rd Personnel Command in Jackson. She served on active duty with the U.S. Army 1990-1998, with assignments at Fort Benning, Ga., in Germany and Hawaii and at Fort Polk, La. She previously served as a prosecutor, defense counsel and legal assistance officer. While on duty in Hawaii, she served as a special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Army. She left active duty with the rank of Major. She graduated from the U.S. Army Reserve Command and General Staff College in 2002.

She earned her law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1989. She served on the National Moot Court Team, Law Journal and Moot Court Board. After graduation from law school, she served as a law clerk for Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Joel Blass.

She is a member of the Columbia Junior Auxiliary, Golden Acres Garden Club, Lions Club and Rotary Club. She serves on the board of the Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department. She is on the advisory board of the Marion County Boys and Girls Club. She is a member of the Reserve Officers Association, the Military Officers Association and the National Rifle Association.