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

Presiding Justice King takes on administrative responsibilities at Supreme Court

February 1, 2019

Justice Leslie D. King of Greenville took on more administrative responsibilities at the Mississippi Supreme Court on Feb. 1 when he became a Presiding Justice.

Presiding Justice Leslie D. King

The Chief Justice and the two Presiding Justices comprise the Supreme Court Executive Committee, which has administrative responsibilities. “It’s basically planning and implementing the Court’s administrative work,” Presiding Justice King said.

As the title suggests, Presiding Justices preside over panels during oral arguments and during the internal discussion of cases. Most cases are assigned to three-justice panels for research and writing of decisions. All nine justices consider and vote on cases.

“I’ll have the privilege of serving as the presiding officer in all the cases that are argued before my panel,” Presiding Justice King said.

Presiding Justices also are responsible for making sure that all cases assigned to the panel progress in a timely fashion. The Court adheres to a 270-day rule, issuing a decision within 270 days of the filing of the final brief in each case. “Deadlines are very important to this court, to see that cases are disposed of timely,” Presiding Justice King said.

Presiding Justices are selected by seniority. Presiding Justice King, who was appointed to the Supreme Court March 1, 2011, is the third longest currently serving member of the Supreme Court. Presiding Justice Jim Kitchens of Crystal Springs, second in seniority on the Court with 10 years of service, became a Presiding Justice in September 2017. The longest serving Justice, Chief Justice Michael K. Randolph of Hattiesburg, who has been a member of the Court for nearly 15 years, became Chief Justice on Feb. 1.

Before his appointment and subsequent election to the Supreme Court, King served for 16 years on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, having been elected at the court’s inception. He was Chief Judge of the intermediate appellate court for seven years. He previously served for 15 years in the House of Representatives, where he was vice-chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and vice-chair of the Conservation and Water Resources Committee. He is a former Washington County Youth Court counselor, prosecutor and public defender, and former Metcalfe Municipal Judge.

Presiding Justice King graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1970, and from the Texas Southern University School of Law in 1973. He began practicing law in Greenville in 1973.