Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi
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Court of Appeals Judge Joel Smith to be sworn in Jan. 19

January 14, 2021

Newly appointed Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Joel Smith Jr. of Gulfport will be sworn in at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19 at the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson.

Joel Smith

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will administer the oath of office.

Smith, 46, has served for the past nine years as district attorney for the Second Judicial District of Harrison, Hancock and Stone counties.

Gov. Tate Reeves appointed Smith on Jan. 14 to a vacancy on the Court of Appeals. Judge Smith will take the position previously held by Sean Tindell of Gulfport, who left the Court to become Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety on June 1, 2020.

Judge Smith said, “It is very humbling and an honor to join such an esteemed group of Judges on the Mississippi Court of Appeals. I look forward to this new chapter in my legal career and I’m excited about this new challenge. I will be ready to hit the ground running and put my experience and energy to work and hopefully make the people of our great state proud.”

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna M. Barnes welcomed Judge Smith to the Court. “I’m excited over the Governor’s appointment of District Attorney Smith to the Court of Appeals. His experience not only as a prosecutor but in other areas of litigation will be an asset to the Court.”

Smith served for 11 years as an assistant district attorney before taking office as district attorney in January 2012. Before joining the District Attorney's office, he practiced corporate defense and premises liability litigation with the firm of Bryant, Clark, Dukes & Blakeslee.

He is past president of the Mississippi Prosecutors Association and served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Prosecutors Section of the Mississippi Bar. He serves as vice-chair of the Mississippi Children’s Justice Act Task Force and was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Mississippi School Safety Task Force. He recently completed a term on the Mississippi Corrections and Criminal Justice Oversight Committee. He served on the Governor’s 2020 search committee to find a new commissioner for the Department of Corrections. He served as an instructor with the U.S. Navy Sexual Assault Intervention Training Program, Southern Regional Public Safety Institute and the Harrison County Law Enforcement Academy.

He was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1999. He is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Mississippi.

He served as President of the Leadership Gulf Coast Board of Trustees and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Coast Chamber of Commerce. He also is a member of the Gulf Coast Business Council.

He is a graduate of Gulfport High School. He earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Mississippi and a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

He is a native of Gulfport. He and his wife, Courtney, have three children. They attend First Baptist Church of Gulfport.

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