Judge Harrison pledges honesty, fairness, integrity
Newly appointed Hinds County Circuit Judge Malcolm Harrison at his investiture on Monday said that he will be honest, fair and accountable, and that he will hold those who come before him accountable.
“I will be what I believe all judges should be, a fair and honest jurist who reads and follows the law,” Judge Harrison said. “I will return judicial integrity to Post 4 of the Hinds County Circuit Court.”
Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Judge Harrison to fill the vacancy created by the July 30 resignation of former Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter. Judge Harrison will serve out the remainder of the term, which ends Jan. 3, 2011.
Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. administered the ceremonial oath to Judge Harrison Monday before a large crowd at the Hinds County Courthouse.
Judge Harrison took the oath of office on Oct. 30 and began work on Nov. 2. It is traditional to have a formal investiture ceremony, including a ceremonial administering of the oath, at a later time.
Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd said, “The Governor made an excellent choice in selecting Judge Harrison, and we know he will do an excellent job.”
Former Gov. William Winter said that in taking the oath of office, “he is pledging to see to it that he will enhance the respect for the law....I know that you will protect our rights, see that everyone gets justice and be an inspiration to all of us.”
Harrison worked his way through Jackson State University while employed as a runner at the law office where Winter worked. “He had an interest in being a lawyer and he did his best to get ready for the responsibilities that come with being a member of the legal profession,” Winter said. “I saw in him as he was coming along, before he went to law school, that sense of responsibility, that sense of obligation.”
Winter drew an ovation when he urged Judge Harrison to offer himself as a role model to young people and to work to increase their understanding of and respect for the law.
Winter said he is concerned about the skepticism and cynicism with which young people view the legal and political system. “We cannot have a citizenry that has a negative opinion about how we govern ourselves,” he said.
Winter said, “I hope that you will make it part of your duties to do more than just preside over the court, but to go out into the community and present yourself as a role model for young people in this community. When they see a young man raised here in Jackson who has been able to do what he has been able to do, now become a circuit judge here in the capital city of Mississippi, they are bound to be impressed with that opportunity that exists if they will develop themselves, use their God given talent, get an education and be a constructive citizen in our community. That is how we lift ourselves up.”
Gayle Walker said Judge Harrison is one of seven former Magnolia Bar Association presidents who went on to serve as judges. Harrison served as president of the Magnolia Bar Association 2008-09. Walker is the current president.
Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green said, “We are here to add another chapter to the history books.”
Judge Harrison, 40, of Raymond, was elected in 1999 and took office in 2000 as Hinds County Prosecuting Attorney. He also maintained a private civil law practice, handling plaintiff personal injury litigation as well as insurance defense.
Judge Harrison, who grew up in Jackson, is a 1987 graduate of Provine High School. He graduated from Jackson State University in 1991 and earned his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham in 1994. He was admitted to the practice of law in April 1995.