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

Retired Chancellor Jaye Bradley appointed to assist 16th Chancery Court

July 31, 2020

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph on July 30 appointed retired Chancellor Jaye A. Bradley of Lucedale to assist chancellors in Jackson, George and Greene counties in handling the backlog of cases that have resulted from delays caused by COVID-19.

Judge Faye Peterson

Chancellor D. Neil Harris Sr., senior chancellor of the 16th Chancery District, requested the appointment of a special judge. He said in a July 27 letter to the Supreme Court, “Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Jackson County has been one of the hardest hit with this virus. Even at this writing, the numbers here keep rising. The Covid-19 Pandemic has required the reduction in the number of cases we hear due to the reduction in the number of people who can come to any one courtroom or the courthouse.”

Judge Harris said that he and fellow Chancellors Mark Maples and Tanya Hasbrouck “continue to work hard to keep up with the cases before us. A Special Judge with experience would help with any backlog we have.”

Judge Harris said that the three chancellors will identify specific cases in Jackson, George and Greene counties to be assigned to the special judge.

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. Special judges were appointed on July 31 in the 21st Circuit Court of Holmes, Humphreys and Yazoo counties and in 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 Bradley served as a Chancellor in Jackson, George and Greene counties for more than 18 years, retiring in December 2018. She was a leader of the Conference of Chancery Court Judges, serving terms as chair, vice-chair and secretary treasurer of the conference. Before her appointment to the bench, she served as District Attorney for Jackson, George and Greene counties for two years. She previously served as Circuit Court staff attorney, Jackson County Youth Court referee and administrator, and Jackson County assistant public defender.

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