Administrative Office of Courts
Special Judges appointed to hear Katrina cases in Jackson County
Eleven special judges will be appointed on Thursday, Oct. 9, to hear civil cases related to Hurricane Katrina in Jackson County.
Judges of the Circuit and County Courts of Jackson County recused themselves from hearing civil cases related to Hurricane Katrina. The courts of Jackson County recently requested special judge appointments in approximately 242 civil cases pending in the Circuit Court and 19 cases pending in the County Court.
The special judges include seven retired judges, three former presidents of the Mississippi Bar and a law professor.
Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Smith Jr. will administer the oath of office at 3 p.m. Oct. 9 to some of the special judges. They will meet in the Board of Bar Admissions Conference Room at the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson.
The special judges are:
Judge Bell will hear the Jackson County Court cases. The Jackson County Circuit Court cases will be divided among 10 special judges, with Judge Bridges handling additional administrative duties.
Judges Bridges and Prisock have previously heard other Katrina-related cases by special appointment. The submission of requests for special judge appointments in a large number of cases in September and October required the Supreme Court to make additional special judge appointments. Chief Justice Smith said that the cases are too numerous and potentially too time-consuming to be assigned to currently serving trial judges in other districts.
Salaries will be paid from $300,000 appropriated by the Mississippi Legislature to cover the special judge appointments which were expected to result from Katrina-related litigation.