Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Chief Justice makes appointments to Commission on Judicial Performance

December 19, 2017

Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr. of the Mississippi Supreme Court has appointed Cornelia Gayden of Summit as a lay member of the Commission on Judicial Performance.

Chief Justice Waller also appointed Robert E. Graves of Winona as a new alternate lay member of the Commission.

Chief Justice Waller issued the order Dec. 18, appointing Gayden and Graves to six-year terms.

The Commission on Judicial Performance investigates allegations of judicial misconduct and makes recommendations for discipline to the Supreme Court. The Commission includes seven members and seven alternates. An alternate takes the place of a member who is not able to participate in a particular judicial discipline case.

Gayden works in the community relations office of the McComb School District. She leads the Partners in Education program. She previously served as coordinator of the McComb Mayor’s Youth Council. She has served as both a member and alternate member of the Commission for nine years, having first been appointed in January 2009.

Gayden was a women’s basketball standout in high school and college and played professionally. The Bogue Chitto High School guard was named Mississippi’s No. 1 women’s basketball player of the year in 1990. She was an SEC standout at Louisiana State University, where she played 1991-1995. She played professionally for 10 years in Italy, Portugal, Israel and Greece. Currently, she is Director of Sports Ministry at Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Summit.

Graves, a graduate of Mississippi State University and Mississippi College School of Law, retired as a senior vice-president with Merrill Lynch in Jackson in 2003. He serves as an arbitrator of securities disputes with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. He raises cattle with his son in Carroll County. He is a former district governor of Rotary District 6820. He also served as Rotary District secretary and district trainer. He currently serves as a Rotary District officer handling grants. He served as the first president of the Madison-Ridgeland Rotary Club and was also president of the Winona Rotary Club. He is a U.S. Army veteran.

Commission on Judicial Performance Chairman Rick J. Coulter of Columbia will leave the commission Dec. 31 after almost 12 years of service as a lay member. Coulter, a Farm Bureau Insurance agency manager in Marion County, began his service as an alternate lay member of the Commission in February 2006 and became a member in 2012. Commission members selected him as vice-chair in 2015. He served as chairman of the Commission for the past two years.

Members of the Commission are expected to select a new chair in early 2018.