Circuit Judge Christopher Collins to resign Jan. 1
December 6, 2019
Circuit Judge Christopher A. Collins of Union has announced that he will resign from the bench effective Jan. 1, 2020.
The Governor has authority to appoint a new judge to the vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Leake, Neshoba, Newton and Scott counties. The vacancy will occur before Governor-elect Tate Reeves’ inauguration, scheduled for Jan. 14, so Gov. Phil Bryant may name the appointee if he chooses.
The appointment would be for the year 2020. A special election is expected to be scheduled in November 2020. Mississippi Code Section 23-15-849 sets out the procedure for gubernatorial appointment and the holding of a special election.
Judge Collins said Friday that he gave his notice to the Governor Dec. 1, a month before his planned resignation from the bench, to give plenty of time for a smooth transition. “The Eighth Circuit is a very active district. We try a lot of cases. It’s common for us to try two or three cases every month. In the 45 months I was judge, I tried 107 cases,” he said. “I want there to be continuity. I gave my notice 30 days early. I hope there will be a smooth transition.”
Judge Collins said that he chose the time of his resignation so that the four counties of the district would not incur the costs of a special election for Circuit Judge. The special judicial election will be on the November 2020 ballot with the Presidential election.
Judge Collins, 52, said that he plans to return to private law practice and lay the foundation for a practice that will later include family members. “I want to get a law practice up and going so they can join and we won’t all be starting from scratch at the same time,” he said.
His oldest daughter, Katie Collins Curren, was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in September, and her husband is a law student. Daughter Muriel Collins is in her first year of law school at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Son Alexander Collins, a student at Mississippi College, is interested in law, as is youngest daughter Olivia.
Judge Collins has served on the Eighth Circuit Court since March 31, 2016. Gov. Bryant appointed him to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Marcus Gordon. Judge Collins was elected to the judgeship in November 2017.
Judge Collins served as a civil court judge for the Tribal Court of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians 1999 to 2016. He also served as a domestic violence court judge for the Tribal Court. He was a prosecutor for the cities of Union and Decatur, and served as a special prosecutor in Winston and Lauderdale counties. He served as felony indigent counsel in the Eighth District and as post-conviction counsel for inmates.
Judge Collins called his work with the Drug Court the most rewarding. He was involved with the Eighth Circuit District Drug Court since its inception in 2004, having been a charter board member.
Judge Collins received an associate of arts degree from East Central Community College and a bachelor of arts degree from Mississippi College. He received a juris doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Law.