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

Judge Carlyn Hicks takes oath to serve on Hinds County Court

July 14, 2020

Newly appointed Hinds County Court Judge Carlyn M. Hicks took the oath of office on Tuesday, July 14.

Chancellor Charles Smith

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph, who appointed Judge Hicks, administered the oath of office. "We are extremely pleased. You have prepared yourself well for this moment, with all of the work you have done in the past," Chief Justice Randolph said.

Hinds County Court Judge LaRita Cooper-Stokes said, "We in Hinds County are very excited to have Judge Hicks join our ranks. We look forward to working with you on a day to day basis, and I know you will do well."

Judge Hicks told Chief Justice Randolph, "Thank you for the confidence you've placed in me to carry out these duties. I promise to do so with honor, integrity, and fidelity to the law."

She said, "To the citizens of Hinds County, I pledge to you my time and my talents, to serve you, be responsive to you, be accountable to you."

Judge Hicks was accompanied in the courtroom by her husband Derrick Hicks, their daughter Leigh and Judge Cooper-Stokes.

Judge Hicks told her husband, "Thank you for pushing me, motivating me and encouraging me at every pivotal moment of my career. None of this would be possible without your support." She told their daughter, who is 8, "Your gifted precociousness keeps me on my toes and I have no doubt that you have also prepared me for this moment. Thank you for the honor of blazing new trails that I know you will far exceed in your lifetime."

Judge Hicks’ parents were among about 120 people who watched the webcast of the ceremony via the Mississippi Judiciary website. She thanked them for their hard work, sacrifice, love, guidance and wisdom. "You instilled in me the very values that have guided every decision I've made as an attorney, and will continue to guide every decision I will make from the bench. Do the right thing. Be humble. Love, and fear God. Treat the janitor like the pastor. And let every word that comes from your mouth have meaning."

Chief Justice Randolph on July 9 issued an order that temporarily appoints Judge Hicks as a special judge for the Hinds County Court. The appointment is to the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Melvin V. Priester Sr., who retired from the Hinds County Court on June 3.

The Supreme Court order of appointment is at this link: https://courts.ms.gov/appellatecourts/docket/sendPDF.php?f=700_504773.pdf&c=92229&a=N&s=2.

Judge Hicks, 36, of Jackson, has served as director of the Mission First Legal Aid Office, a pro bono initiative of Mississippi College School of Law, since August 2017. She oversaw the operations of staff and volunteers who provide legal services to more than 1,200 low income clients annually in Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties. She began work with Mission First as a student volunteer, became a staff attorney in Septem-ber 2010, then represented indigent parents in Youth Court through the Mission First Legal Aid program for almost five years.

She has worked to improve child welfare policy at the national and state level. She is a member of the Mississippi Children's Justice Commission Parent Representation Task Force and the Mississippi Court Im-provement Program Multidisciplinary Team. She is a member of the Board of Directors of CASA, Court Ap-pointed Special Advocates of Mississippi. She is a service provider representative on the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission. She is one of only three Mississippi attorneys certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children, accredited by the American Bar Association.

Judge Hicks is a member of the American Bar Association National Alliance for Parent Representation Steering Committee, the ABA Family Justice Initiative National Advisory Committee and the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute Advisory Board. She is chair of the Mississippi Bar Child Welfare and Child Advocacy Committee and chair of Pro Bono and Com-munity Outreach for the Capital Area Bar Association.

Judge Hicks has served since 2015 as a clinical adjunct professor at the Mississippi College School of Law Child Welfare and Family Justice Clinic. She previously taught Constitutional law for a year in the Jackson State University Department of Political Science.

Judge Hicks earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Jackson State University in 2006, and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law in 2010. She was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in September 2010. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Mississippi College in 2012. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in public administration at JSU.

####