Judge Hannan elected chairman of County Court Judges

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County Court Judges re-elected Madison County Court Judge Ed Hannan as chairman, Washington County Court Judge Vernita King Johnson as vice-chair, and Lauderdale County Court Judge Veldore Young Graham as secretary of the Conference of County Court Judges.

Chancellor Rhea Sheldon of Purvis recently was elected chair of the Conference of Chancery Court Judges. Chancellor Robert G. Clark III of Lexington was elected vice-chair, and Chancellor Larry Little of Oxford was re-elected secretary-treasurer.

Conference elections were held Oct. 29 during the fall Trial and Appellate Judges Conference, which was conducted by the Mississippi Judicial College as a virtual conference due to the pandemic.

Judicial College Executive Director Randy Pierce began scheduling virtual periodic meetings for judges soon after the pandemic began. Judge Sheldon said that one of her goals as Chancery Conference Chair is to continue those meetings so that judges can share ideas for solutions to deal with issues that arise due to COVID-19.

“It has changed the way we handle court,” she said.

Judge Sheldon previously served as vice-chair of the Conference of Chancery Court Judges. She is co-chair of the Commission on Children's Justice.  Gov. Phil Bryant appointed her to a vacancy on the 10th Chancery Court. She took the oath of office Feb. 22, 2016. The 10th Chancery includes Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River and Perry counties.

Judge Sheldon taught school for several years after earning a bachelor's degree in history with a minor in secondary education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She earned a law degree in 2002 from the University of Mississippi School of Law. She was involved in the Public Interest Law Clinic and Moot Court Board and served as Honor Council Chairperson and Law School Student Body Election Commissioner. She served as a law clerk for former Supreme Court Justice Kay Cobb.

Judge Clark has served on the bench of the 11th Chancery District since January 2015. The district includes Holmes, Leake, Madison and Yazoo counties. He served as Holmes County Youth Court Referee 2004-2014. He was Lexington Municipal Judge  2005-2014.   He previously served as  board attorney for the Holmes County Board of Supervisors,  attorney for the  town of Cruger and the city of Tchula, and Holmes County Youth Court public defender.

He earned an Associate degree from  Holmes Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stillman College and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Judge Little took office in January 2019 in the 18th Chancery Court, which  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 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 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.


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