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

Retired Judge Barry Ford appointed to assist 21st Circuit Court

July 31, 2020

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph on July 31 appointed retired Circuit Judge Barry W. Ford of Madison to assist the 21st Circuit Court of Holmes, Humphreys and Yazoo counties in handling the backlog of cases that have resulted from delays caused by COVID-19.

Judge Faye Peterson

Circuit Judge Jannie Lewis-Blackmon requested appointment of a special judge on a temporary basis.

More special judges are expected to be appointed to temporarily assist judges in districts across the state. Five special judges have been appointed in Hinds County in recent days. A special judge was appointed on July 30 in the 16th Chancery Courts of Jackson, George and Greene counties. A special judge was appointed on July 31 in the Warren County Court. Other judges around the state have requested special judge appointments.

Chief Justice Randolph said that COVID-19 has presented a multitude of challenges to the prompt and efficient administration of justice. The disruption caused by COVID-19 required an untold number of court case continuances since it was declared a national emergency on March 13. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 cases may have been affected.

The Mississippi Legislature appropriated $2.5 million of CARES Act money to assist the courts. Special judges to be appointed around the state will be paid with CARES Act funds which will be available through Dec. 30, 2020.

Judge Ford served as a Circuit Judge of the seven-county First Judicial District in northeast Mississippi 1991-2000. He left the bench to return to private law practice. He also served as Pontotoc Municipal Judge for 12 years.

Here is the link to the special judge appointment order for Judge Ford: