Judges and attorneys inducted as Fellows of Mississippi Bar Foundation
April 9, 2018
Fifteen attorneys and five judges were inducted as Fellows of the Mississippi Bar Foundation at a ceremony in Jackson on Thursday evening, April 5.
New Bar Foundation Fellows include Chancellor M. Ronald Doleac of Hattiesburg, Circuit Judge Lee J. Howard IV of Starkville, Circuit Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders of Natchez, Attorney General Jim Hood, U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball of Madison, Workers’ Compensation Commission Administrative Law Judge Virginia Wilson Mounger of Jackson, and Court Administrator and Counsel for the Supreme Court Hubbard T. Saunders IV of Jackson.
Mississippi College School of Law Professor Cecile C. Edwards, Jackson, and U.S. District Court Staff Attorney Anna C. Furr, Ridgeland, were inducted as Fellows. Private practice attorneys inducted as Fellows were Willie T. Abston, Brandon; L. Grant Bennett, Hattiesburg; John Booth Farese, Ashland; Timothy C. Holleman, Gulfport; Andrew J. Kilpatrick, Jr., Grenada; Pope S. Mallette, Oxford; Dennis W. Miller, Jackson; J. Douglas Minor, Jr., Jackson; Kathy K. Smith, Jackson; Roy A. Smith, Jr., Jackson; and John G. Wheeler, Tupelo.
Those inducted as Fellows of the Mississippi Bar Foundation represent the highest standards of professionalism and are men and women of good character and integrity, Bar Foundation President-Elect David W. Houston III of Aberdeen said during the Foundation’s annual meeting and induction ceremony at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson.
W.C. “Cham” Trotter III of Belzoni received the Law-Related Public Education Award at the induction dinner. The award is presented annually to a lawyer who has demonstrated excellence in advancing the public’s understanding of the law and the legal system. Trotter, a frequent civic club speaker, regaled dinner guests with an impromptu and perfectly executed recitation of the late Noah “Soggy” Sweat’s 1952 “Whiskey Speech.”
U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett of McComb received the Bar Foundation’s Professionalism Award. Starrett during his judicial career has shown “a passion for criminal justice reform,” said Mississippi Bar Foundation President Karl R. Steinberger of Pascagoula.
As a state circuit judge in the 14th Circuit District of Pike, Lincoln and Walthall counties, Starrett created the state’s first felony drug court in 1999. He is a former board member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. He served as a state circuit judge for 12 ½ years. President George W. Bush appointed him to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on Jan. 1, 2005. Starrett serves as chair of the Reentry Committee of the Judicial Council of the Fifth Circuit and as chair of the Mississippi Reentry Council. The Reentry Council works to create effective strategies to assist former inmates in their return to society, reduce recidivism, increase public safety and reduce budgetary constraints on the state prison system.
Judge Doleac since 2012 has served as a Chancellor of the 10th Chancery District, which includes Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River and Perry counties. He is chairman of the Conference of Chancery Judges. He previously served as Hattiesburg city prosecutor and city judge pro tempore, interim Forrest County Justice Court judge, and Forrest County Chancery Court special master and family master. He received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Judge Howard is senior circuit judge of the 16th Circuit District of Clay, Oktibbeha, Lowndes and Noxubee counties. He became a circuit judge in 1989. He served for 12 years on the Commission on Judicial Performance, including commission chairman in 2015. He was an assistant district attorney in the 7th Circuit Court District of Hinds and Yazoo counties from 1974 to 1975, and served as an assistant district attorney of the 16th Circuit from 1977 to 1988. He earned two bachelor of science degrees, in accounting and agricultural economics, from Mississippi State University. He earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Judge Sanders became the first African-American woman to serve on the state trial bench in February 1989, when former Gov. Ray Mabus appointed her to an unexpired term in the Sixth Circuit District. She was elected to the circuit bench in 1994. She is a former municipal judge and youth court public defender. She is a former staff attorney of the Department of Human Services. She also was in private law practice with her husband, Everett Sanders. She began her legal career at the former Southwest Mississippi Legal Services in Natchez. She was named Pro Bono Lawyer of the year in 1994, and was a recipient of the Magnolia Bar Association’s Government Service Award. She serves on the Access to Justice Commission and the Judicial Advisory Study Committee. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Alcorn State university and a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Saunders has served as Supreme Court Administrator and Counsel since March 2011. He has been a member of the court staff for 19 years. He was Central Legal Staff director and deputy court administrator from November 2005 to March 2011. He previously served as editor of opinions for the Supreme Court for almost seven years. He served as a special assistant attorney general from 1977 to 1981, working in the federal litigation division of the Attorney General’s office. He worked in private practice from 1976 to 1977 and again from 1981 to 1998. Saunders earned undergraduate and law degree from the University of Mississippi. He was editor-in-chief of the Mississippi Law Journal during law school.
Judge Mounger is an Administrative Law Judge with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Prior to joining the commission in 1994, she was engaged in the private practice of law with an emphasis on oil and gas law and investments. She also served as the City of Jackson public defender. She earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi. She completed graduate studies at University College, Oxford University, Oxford, England.
Judge Ball has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge of the Southern District of Mississippi since 2009. He previously was in private law practice for almost 20 years. He has served on the Board of Bar Commissioners, Bar Professional Responsibility Committee, Small Firm and Solo Practitioner Committee and as chair of the Bar Memorial Committee. He earned a bachelor of arts and a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi, where he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal.