Judge T. Kenneth Griffis Jr. of Ridgeland will become the next Chief Judge of the Mississippi Court of Appeals,Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. announced last Friday.

Griffis, 57, will begin his service as administrative head of the Court of Appeals on Jan. 2, 2019. He will take over the leadership position from Court of Appeals Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee, who will retire on Dec. 31.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court selects the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.

 “Judge Griffis is a seasoned appellate judge with extensive experience who has always worked for and supported the improvement of the judiciary and the administration of justice,” Chief Justice Waller said. "I appreciate his willingness to take on the additional administrative duties of Chief Judge. He will be an outstanding leader as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.”

Judge Griffis said, “I thank Chief Justice Waller for his confidence in me in making this appointment.I look forward to continuing the excellence of the Court of Appeals and working with other members of the Court as we meet our responsibility of rendering well-reasoned and timely decisions.I am honored to serve the Court of Appeals in this capacity.”

With the Dec. 31retirements of Chief Judge Lee and Presiding Judge Tyree Irving, Judge Griffis will become the longest serving member of the Court of Appeals. He has been a member of the court for 16 years. He was elected in November 2002 to District 3, Position 2, and took office in January 2003. Chief Judge Lee selected him as a presiding judge on March 3, 2011.

The Court of Appeals handles cases in three-judge panels, although all 10 judges of the court vote on decisions. Presiding judges preside over the panels duringoral arguments and during the internal discussion of cases.

Judge Griffis will become the sixth Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. The court was created by the Legislature and began hearing cases in January 1995 to relieve a backlog of appeals. It is an intermediate appellate court, deciding cases assigned to it by the Supreme Court.

Judge Griffis is a native of Meridian. He earnedaccounting and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. He attended Meridian Community College and Mississippi State University - Meridian Branch.He was a Certified Public Accountant from 1984 through 2007.

Judge Griffis is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Courts of the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, and all Mississippi state courts.He is a member of the Mississippi Bar, the Magnolia Bar Association, the Madison County Bar Association, the Capital Area Bar Association, and the Rankin County Bar Association.Judge Griffis is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

He previously served as a member of theMississippi Supreme Court's Rules Advisory Committeeand as chair of the Bench Bar Committee of the Mississippi Bar.Healso served on the Committee on Continuing Judicial Education and the Committee on Electronic Filing and Case Management Systems.He was anadjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law, Belhaven University, the University of Mississippi School of Law, and Meridian Community College. 

Judge Griffis and his wife, Mary Helen Griffis, are the parents of five boys. They live in Ridgeland and attend Christ United Methodist Church.Judge Griffis has served as a youth Sunday School teacher, a Cub Scout leader, and a coach for more than 80 youth sports teams, including baseball, basketball, soccer, and hockey.