Chancellors, Circuit and County Court Judges elect conference officers
November 16, 2023
Chancellor Cynthia Brewer of Madison was recently elected as chair of the Conference of Chancery Court Judges. Chancellor Troy Odom of Brandon was elected vice-chair, and Chancellor Larry Little of Oxford was re-elected secretary-treasurer.
Circuit Judge Tomika Irving of Fayette was elected chair of the Conference of Circuit Court Judges, Circuit Judge Christopher Schmidt of Pass Christian was elected vice-chair, and Circuit Judge Celeste Wilson of Southaven was elected secretary-treasurer.
County Court Judges re-elected Madison County Court Judge Edwin Hannan of Madison as chairman, Washington County Court Judge Vernita King Johnson of Greenville as vice-chair, and Lauderdale County Court Judge Veldore Young Graham of Meridian as secretary of the Conference of County Court Judges.
Conference elections were held Oct. 26 during the fall Trial and Appellate Judges Conference in Biloxi. Conference officers make recommendations on issues affecting the courts.
Judge Brewer previously served as chair of the Conference of Chancery Judges in 2012, and as vice-chair in 2011 and again in 2022. She has served on the 11th Chancery Court since January 2007, hearing cases in Madison and Leake counties. She previously served for four years as Madison County Court Judge, where her duties also included part of the docket for the Madison County Youth Court. She initiated a Teen Court to use peer pressure to hold juveniles accountable for their actions. She also previously served as a special master in Chancery Court, and as a Municipal, County and Youth Court prosecutor in Hinds County. She started the Jackson Metropolitan Crime Commission’s Courtwatch program in the 1990s. She served on the Commission on Judicial Performance as the alternate Chancery Court member. Judge Brewer earned her undergraduate degree from the University of South Alabama, and her Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law. She is a visiting instructor at the National Judicial College in Reno. She previously served as an adjunct professor at the Mississippi College School of Law.
Judge Odom took office in January 2019 in the 20th Chancery Court District, serving Rankin County. He previously practiced law for 16 years with the law firm of Blair & Bondurant, P.A. He also served as prosecutor for the City of Pearl. Judge Odom chaired the 2021 Legislative Task Force to Study Mississippi's Laws Regarding the Awarding and Calculating of Child Support, Alimony, and Other Related Matters in Domestic Law. He has served on various other committees on behalf of the Chancery Conference. Judge Odom earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Judge Little has served as secretary-treasurer of the Conference of Chancery Judges since October`2019. He took office as chancellor in the 18th Chancery Court in January 2019. The district includes Benton, Calhoun, Lafayette, Marshall and Tippah counties. He previously served as district attorney for the Third Circuit for 10 years, and for 19 years as part-time Oxford Municipal Judge. He was an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law for four years. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, and earned his law degree from the former Jackson School of Law, now Mississippi College School of Law.
Judge Irving previously served as conference vice-chair. She has served as judge of the 22nd Circuit Court District since January 2019. The district includes Claiborne, Copiah and Jefferson counties. She previously served for 12 years as Municipal Judge for the town of Crosby, and for six years as Jefferson County Justice Court Judge. Her private law practice included family law, criminal defense and civil litigation in state and federal courts. She earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Arts degree in political science from Mississippi State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law. She has doctoral studies in administration of justice from USM, and teaching certification to teach 7th through 12th grade social studies and journalism.
Judge Schmidt has served since January 2015 in the Second Circuit District of Hancock, Harrison and Stone counties. He previously worked as an assistant district attorney in the Second Circuit for 14 years. He was in private law practice from 2010 until his election in 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Judge Wilson has served as a Circuit Judge for more than seven years. She was appointed in February 2017 to the 17th Circuit Court. She was elected to the 23rd Circuit Court District in November 2022 and took office in January when DeSoto County became a separate Circuit Court district. She serves on the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules. Judge Wilson previously served for eight years as a DeSoto County Court Judge. She served as vice chair of the Council of Youth Court Judges and was a member of the Council for Interstate Compact of Juveniles, the Juvenile Detention and Alternatives Task Force and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Judge Wilson received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Delta State University and a law degree from the University of Memphis.
Judge Hannan has served as chairman of the Conference of County Court Judges since 2015. Judge Johnson has been vice-chair since October 2004. Judge Young Graham began her service as Conference secretary in April 2012.
Judge Hannan, of Madison, began his service as Madison County Court Judge in January 2007. He serves on the Commission on Judicial Performance. He previously served for more than nine years as Madison Municipal Judge. He practiced law for 25 years before he was elected to the Madison County Court bench. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Judge Johnson, of Greenville, has served as Washington County Court Judge since 1999. She previously served as Hollandale Municipal Court Judge 1986-1994, Arcola Municipal Court Judge 1992-1998, and Greenville Municipal Court Judge 1996-1998. She served as Washington County Youth Court prosecutor 1981-1994. She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Judge Young Graham, of Meridian, has served on the Lauderdale County Court bench since January 2007. She previously presided over the 10th Judicial District Drug Court and served on the State Drug Courts Advisory Committee. Before she was elected to the bench, she served for seven years as assistant district attorney, and for two years as a public defender for the 10th Circuit Court District of Clarke, Kemper, Lauderdale and Wayne counties. She engaged in private law practice in Jackson before becoming a public defender.