Supreme Court makes appointments to Bar Complaint Tribunal

January 19, 2024

The Mississippi Supreme Court has appointed Circuit Judge Dal Williamson of Laurel to the Bar Complaint Tribunal.

Judge Claiborne

Judge Williamson will replace the late Circuit Judge Claiborne “Buddy” McDonald on the Tribunal. Judge McDonald died on Jan. 1. Judge McDonald had served on the Tribunal since Sept. 1, 2020, and had been reappointed. Judge Williamson will serve out the term, which will end on Aug. 31, 2026.

Chief Justice Mike Randolph signed the order appointing Judge Williamson on Jan. 18.

The Supreme Court also made six appointments to the Tribunal on Dec. 13, 2023. Those recent new appointees include Circuit Judge Celeste E. Wilson of Southaven, attorney Jackye C. Bertucci of Biloxi, and attorney Charles Elliott Winfield of Starkville. Tribunal members who were reappointed include Hinds County Circuit Judge Faye Peterson of Jackson, attorney Clarence Webster III of Jackson and Chancery Judge Mark A. Maples of Pascagoula.

Judge Wilson replaced Circuit Judge Smith Murphey V of Batesville on the Tribunal. Bertucci replaced attorney Brehm T. Bell of Bay St. Louis, and Winfield replaced attorney William H. Davis Jr. of Corinth. Each of the departing members served six years on the Tribunal.

Members of the Tribunal hear and decide disciplinary matters arising from complaints against attorneys. Discipline may range from private reprimand to disbarment. Decisions from the Tribunal may be appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Actions by the Tribunal are final if not appealed.

The 27-member Complaint Tribunal is made up of nine judges and 18 lawyers selected by the nine members of the Supreme Court from three Supreme Court districts. The Complaint Tribunal sits in panels of three, with each panel comprised of two attorneys and one judge.

Judge Williamson has served as Jones County Circuit Court Judge since January 2015. He previously served terms as chairman, vice-chairman and secretary-treasurer of the Conference of Circuit Court Judges. He is a past president of the Jones County Bar Association, and served as a Bar Commissioner of the Mississippi Bar. He practiced law in Laurel and Jones County for 34 years before election to the bench. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He is a graduate of Jones County Junior College and Mississippi State University.

Judge Wilson has been a Circuit Judge for almost eight years. She was appointed as a Circuit Judge of the17th Circuit District on Feb. 6, 2017. She began her service on the recently created 23rd Circuit Court of DeSoto County on Jan. 1, 2023. She was elected by her colleagues in October 2023 to serve as secretary-treasurer of the Conference of Circuit Court Judges, and she was appointed by the Supreme Court in January 2023 to serve on the Advisory Committee on Rules. Judge Wilson previously served as a DeSoto County Court and Youth Court Judge for more than eight years. She was vice chair of the Council of Youth Court Judges and 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. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the 17th District 2002-2008. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Delta State University and her law degree from the University of Memphis.

Bertucci works with the Board Attorney’s Office for the Jackson County Board of Supervisors. She has practiced law for 29 years. She previously served as in-house counsel for Corporate Management (CMI) in Gulfport. She also worked in the Coast firm of Colingo, Williams, Heidelberg, Steinberger and McElhaney, then at the firm of Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles, and had her own law practice in Biloxi. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Winfield frequently serves as outside counsel to his alma mater, Mississippi State University, and its employees. He also serves as general counsel to The Bulldog Club, Inc., a non-profit that provides support to MSU’s athletic teams. Since 2004, he has served as a managing member of the Winfield Law Firm P.A. His practice has focused on civil litigation including matters that impact educational institutions, and Mississippi Tort Claims Act issues. He frequently serves as a mediator of civil disputes involving other attorneys and their clients. In his spare time, he serves as a broadcaster, including the MSU pre-game and post-game football radio broadcasts and the SEC Network+ broadcasts of MSU baseball and basketball. He previously practiced law with the international firm Jones Day in Dallas, Texas, where his practice focused on commercial litigation. He is a 1994 graduate of Mississippi State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, and a 1997 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Judge Peterson was first appointed to the Complaint Tribunal on June 5, 2023. She was elected to the Hinds County Circuit Court in November 2018 and took office Jan. 1, 2019. She also presides over the Hinds County Mental Health Treatment Court, which was created a year ago. She is a frequent speaker for continuing legal education programs. She was the first African-American woman district attorney in Mississippi, serving as Hinds County District Attorney 2001–2007 after working as an assistant district attorney. In her early career, she worked for the Legal Services office in Jackson, representing low-income people in civil matters. She worked as a public defender before becoming a prosecutor. Later, while engaging in private law practice, she also served as a family master in Hinds Chancery Court 2009-2018. She has a background in physics and mathematics, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Jackson State University. She earned a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law.

Webster joined the Complaint Tribunal in January 2021. He practices with the Jackson office of Jones Walker LLP, where he is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Practice Group. He previously practiced in the Jackson office of the Bradley law firm. His practice includes complex commercial, product liability, mass tort and other litigation in federal and state trial and appellate courts. Webster has held numerous leadership roles in the Mississippi Bar. He is a member of the Board of Commissioners and the Bar’s Ethics Committee. He was chair of the Bar’s Litigation Section Executive Committee, a director and committee chair of the Young Lawyers Division and editor of the Mississippi Lawyer magazine. He held numerous leadership roles in the Capital Area Bar Association, including president 2021-2022. He is a member of the Magnolia Bar, for which he served as membership chair. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Association, and a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel. He was named to the National Black Lawyers Top 100 in 2022, and is a member The 100 Black Men of Jackson. He is on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and served on the Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society Board, as chair of the I.S. Sanders YMCA Board, and as a member of the Central Mississippi Ole Miss Alumni Association Executive Board. He is a member of Rotary Club of Jackson and Phoenix Club of Jackson. Webster earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi in 2002. He earned a law degree from Yale Law School in 2005.

Judge Maples joined the Complaint Tribunal in January 2023. He has served as a Chancellor of the 16th Chancery Court of George, Greene and Jackson counties since January 2019. He previously served for 28 years as George County Prosecutor. He was the attorney for Singing River Electric Power Association for 28 years, and was board attorney for George County Schools for 18 years. He is a graduate of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College School of Law.