Judge Griffis to be sworn in as Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jan. 2; Judges Barnes and Carlton to take oaths as Presiding Judges
December 28, 2018
Judge T. Kenneth Griffis Jr. will take the oath of Chief Judge of the Mississippi Court of Appeals Jan. 2 at 11 a.m. in the Court of Appeals Courtroom at the Mississippi Supreme Court in Jackson.
Judge Griffis has named Court of Appeals Judges Donna M. Barnes and Virginia C. Carlton to serve as Presiding Judges of the Court of Appeals. They will take their oaths immediately after Judge Griffis is sworn in as Chief Judge.
Judge Griffis, of Ridgeland, will serve as administrative head of the Court of Appeals Jan. 2 through Jan. 31. Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed him to a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the state’s highest court, effective Feb. 1.
Governor Haley Barbour appointed Judge Barnes to the Court of Appeals in July 2004. She was elected in November 2006, and re-elected in November 2010 and November 2018.
Judge Barnes grew up in Natchez. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi, summa cum laude, with majors in classical civilizations and English. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, magna cum laude. In 1996, she took sabbatical to study law at the University of Cambridge. She earned her Master of Law from the University of Cambridge in 1997.
For more than 18 years, Judge Barnes practiced law with Mitchell, McNutt and Sams in Tupelo with concentrations in appellate practice, real estate, health care, employment discrimination, Section 1983 litigation and professional liability defense.
She is a member of the Criminal Code Revision Consulting Group. She is a former member of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission and the Judicial Advisory Study Committee.
Judge Carlton is a native of Columbia, Mississippi, and currently resides in Jackson. She has served on the Court of Appeals since January 2007. She served as State Representative for Mississippi House District 100 from 2004 through 2006. She began her legal career as a Mississippi Supreme Court law clerk. She was an assistant district attorney, county public defender, U.S. Army JAG officer, and military judge. She was merit selected to serve as a military trial judge in the U.S. Army Reserve, where she presided over courts-martial, then merit selected to serve as an associate appellate judge on the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. She retired from the military in February 2015at the rank of Colonel with more than 24 years of service.
Judge Carlton received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Mississippi and a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law. She is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.
Judge Carlton is a member of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission. She served on the Mississippi Children’s Justice Commission for about seven years, including as co-chair, on the Mississippi Supreme Court’s Rules Advisory Committee for three years, and on other study commissions and advisory groups. She served as an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law and Belhaven University. She often teaches continuing education classes at the request of the Mississippi Bar and other organizations.
Judge Griffis grew up in Meridian. He earned accounting and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. He attended Meridian Community College and Mississippi State University - Meridian Branch. He was a Certified Public Accountant from 1984 through 2007.
He previously served as a member of the Mississippi Supreme Court’s Rules Advisory Committee and as chair of the Bench Bar Committee of the Mississippi Bar. He also served on the Committee on Continuing Judicial Education and the Committee on Electronic Filing and Case Management Systems. He was an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law, Belhaven University, the University of Mississippi School of Law, and Meridian Community College.
Leadership changes on the state’s two appellate courts were set in motion by the retirements of Court of Appeals Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee of Jackson and Presiding Judge Tyree Irving of Madison on Dec. 31, and the retirement of Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. of Jackson effective Jan. 31. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals from among that court’s 10 members. Chief Justice Waller in November named Judge Griffis as his selection to lead the Court of Appeals, then the Governor selected Judge Griffis to fill the Supreme Court vacancy that will occur with Justice Waller’s retirement.
More background of members of the Court of Appeals may be found at this link: https://courts.ms.gov/appellatecourts/coa/coajudges.php.