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

Sentencing Disparity Task Force to meet Aug. 30 in Jackson

August 28, 2018

The Sentencing Disparity Task Force will meet at 10 a.m. Aug. 30 in the first floor training room at the Mississippi Supreme Court.

The Task Force, convening it’s second meeting, has invited U.S. District Judge William H. Barbour Jr. of Yazoo City, criminal defense attorney John M. Colette of Jackson, and Commissioner of Agriculture and former legislator Andy Gipson of Braxton to speak.

Gipson, former chairman of the House Judiciary B Committee, authored House Bill 387 which created the Sentencing Disparity Task Force during the 2018 Regular Session. House Bill 387, Section 8, states, “The purpose of the task force is to study and report the existence of possible disparity in sentencing for crimes as documented by the Mississippi Department of Corrections in order to promote the interest of uniform justice throughout the State of Mississippi.”

Judge Barbour, who has served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi since 1983, has dealt with federal sentencing guidelines since they were enacted in 1987. Judge Barbour is former chief judge of the Southern District of Mississippi. He assumed senior status in 2006, hearing fewer cases.

Colette, with 33 years of federal and state criminal defense practice, is known for his expertise in the area of federal sentencing guidelines.

Parole Board Chairman Steve Pickett is chairman of the Sentencing Disparity Task Force. Justice Robert P. Chamberlin is vice-chair. Other members are Circuit Judge Claiborne “Buddy” McDonald, State Defender André de Gruy, Sen. Briggs Hopson, Sen. Dennis Debar, Rep. Kevin Horan, Rep. Bill Kinkade, Kenny Ellis of the Lieutenant Governor’s office, Attorney General Jim Hood and designee Special Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander, District Attorney Michael Guest, Assistant District Attorney John L. Herzog Jr., Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall and designee Special Assistant Attorney General Darrell C. Baughn, and businessman Roy Dixon.

Sentencing Disparity Task Force to meet