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

Chief Justice Randolph to speak at 17th Circuit Drug Court graduation

September 27, 2019

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will speak at the 17th Circuit Drug Court graduation on Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Desoto County Courthouse, 2535 Highway 51 in Hernando.

About 46 people are expected to graduate, said 17th Circuit Drug Court Coordinator Craig Sheley. The Drug Court has 388 participants enrolled.

Chief Justice Mike Randolph

Circuit Judges Jimmy McClure and Celeste Wilson will preside over the graduation ceremony. It will be the eleventh graduation ceremony for the 17th Circuit Drug Court, which began in 2006 and serves participants in DeSoto, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate and Yalobusha counties.

Addressing the root causes of criminal activity and substance use disorders, adult drug courts offer participants an alternative to incarceration. Drug courts provide participants access to resources and opportunities they need by coordinating the efforts of the judiciary, prosecution, defense counsel, probation, law enforcement, treatment, mental health and social service providers. This interdisciplinary approach offers participants the opportunity to become productive, law abiding citizens, which reduces recidivism and provides for healthier communities.

In a recent hearing before the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Chief Justice Randolph conveyed to the members that the return on the State’s investment in these alternative intervention courts was staggering. In addition to the more than $450 million in incarceration savings to the State during the past 10 years, the intervention courts graduated more than 5,400 participants. More than 450 of those graduates attended vocational schools, more than 600 attended traditional schools, more than 1,300 attended post-secondary schools, and more than 3,800 are now employed. More than 500 drug-free babies were born, increasing the savings to the State. Chief Justice Randolph informed the legislators that supporting intervention courts was the best investment they could ever make for the State.

The state has 40 drug courts, including 22 adult felony programs, three adult misdemeanor programs, 12 juvenile drug courts and three family drug courts.

Chief Justice Randolph is the leader of the Mississippi judicial branch of government. He became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on Feb. 1. He is the longest currently serving member of the Supreme Court, having been appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour on April 23, 2004. He was first elected in November 2004, and re-elected in November 2012, for another eight-year term.

He was decorated for heroism in Vietnam, where he served with the U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division, Big Red One. He was honorably discharged in 1967. During law school, he received an appointment as a Reserve officer in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General Corps. He is a graduate of the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island. He was honorably discharged in 1975.

He graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., with a B.S. degree in business administration in 1972. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1974, where he served as president of the Law School Student Body.

He began practicing law in 1975 in Biloxi with the firm of Ross, King and Randolph. He practiced with the firm of Bryan, Nelson, Allen and Schroeder in Pascagoula, Biloxi and Gulfport. He opened a Hattiesburg office for Bryan, Nelson, Allen and Schroeder in 1976, where he later formed the firm of Bryan Nelson Randolph, PA., serving as President and CEO until his appointment to the Supreme Court.

He has homes in Hattiesburg and Ocean Springs.