Statement of Chief Justice Waller on appointment of Justice King

February 23, 2011

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. welcomed Justice Leslie D. King to the state’s highest court and thanked Gov. Haley Barbour for his appointment.

Chief Justice Waller said, “Judge King has provided strong and effective leadership of the Court of Appeals for nearly seven years. The Court of Appeals reviews hundreds of legal decisions each year, giving prompt and thorough attention to each case. It is essential that matters affecting people’s lives and liberty be addressed quickly, yet thoroughly. Judge King has guided the Court of Appeals in fulfilling its mission.”

“I welcome Justice King to the Supreme Court. His work ethic and extensive knowledge of the law will be a tremendous asset to the state’s highest court,” Chief Justice Waller said.

Justice King will fill the position vacated by Presiding Justice James E. Graves Jr., who was appointed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gov. Barbour will appoint a judge to the vacancy on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

Justice Jess H. Dickinson of Gulfport, third in seniority on the Supreme Court, has become a presiding justice of the Supreme Court.

Mississippi has a two-tier appellate court system. The Mississippi Supreme Court is the court of last resort among state courts. The Mississippi Court of Appeals, an intermediate appellate court, hears cases assigned by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has discretion over whether to review decisions of the Court of Appeals. If the Supreme Court declines review, the Court of Appeals decision stands.