Chief Justice Randolph to speak to Columbia Rotary Club Nov. 26

November 7, 2019

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will speak to the Columbia Rotary Club Nov. 26 at noon at the Magnolia Grille.

Chief Justice Randolph is expected to talk about the role of drug courts and the judiciary’s budget request for the next fiscal year.

Drug courts have saved the state more than $457 million in incarceration costs since 2012. The Legislature this past spring created additional intervention courts to include veterans and mental health courts. It is expected that the savings to the State of Mississippi in Fiscal Year 2021 will exceed $71.7 million with the addition of the new intervention courts. Chief Justice Randolph hopes to establish eight mental health court pilot programs, add eight veterans court pilot programs and create three more drug courts if the Legislature approves the funding.

The state currently has 40 drug courts. There are 22 adult felony drug court programs – one in each of the 22 Circuit Court districts. Special programs for veterans currently operate in two of them: the 12th Circuit and 19th Circuit. There are also three adult misdemeanor drug court programs, 12 juvenile drug courts and three family drug courts.

During the past seven fiscal years, intervention courts graduated more than 5,475 participants. About 455 of those graduates attended vocational schools, more than 750 attended traditional schools, more than 1,300 attended post-secondary schools, and more than 3,800 are now employed. More than 515 drug-free babies were born, increasing the savings to the state. According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, each healthy, drug-free infant saves the state an average of $750,000 during the first 18 years of life. Drug courts can save an additional $39 million in costs over the next 18 years by avoiding the costs associated with caring for children exposed to drugs before they are born.

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.

He was decorated for heroism in Vietnam, where he served with the U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division, the 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 then practiced with the firm of Bryan, Nelson, Allen and Schroeder on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He opened a Hattiesburg office for Bryan, Nelson, Allen and Schroeder in 1976. 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.