Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dickinson to leave bench.

Governor Phil Bryant issued the following statement.

Dr. David A. Chandler will retire as commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services on Sept. 15.

Gov. Phil Bryant announced today the appointment of Chandler's successor, Mississippi Supreme Court Presiding Justice Jess H. Dickinson. Dickinson's appointment will be effective Sept. 18.

Chandler, a former state Supreme Court justice, has held his current post since December 2015. Under his leadership, CPS became a stand-alone agency dedicated to serving Mississippi's foster children.

"Dr. Chandler has done a remarkable job leading Child Protection Services," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "He has dedicated himself to improving the lives of our most vulnerable children. Our foster care system has made significant progress under his direction, and I wish him the best upon his well-deserved retirement."

Earlier this year, Chandler led negotiations with plaintiffs in the Olivia Y litigation that resulted in CPS being removed from oversight by a federal court monitor. In May, Chandler received the Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux Award, which honors individuals and organizations that have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure children experience the love and stability that come with a permanent foster family.

"Governor Bryant gave me an opportunity to serve the citizens of our state in the most meaningful way possible - working to secure the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable children," Chandler said. "I now ask Governor Bryant to allow me to step aside from my official role as Commissioner, but remain committed to helping Mississippi's struggling families cope with their daily challenges."

Dickinson has served on the state Supreme Court since January 2004, representing District 2, Place 1. Prior to that, he was a Forrest County Circuit Court Judge.

"I am confident Justice Dickinson will build on the progress made at CPS," Gov. Bryant said. "He has proven himself a compassionate and capable jurist, and that experience will serve him well in his new position. I am delighted he has accepted this appointment. Providing our foster children the care and treatment they deserve will remain my administration's top priority the rest of my term."

His first year on the Supreme Court, Dickinson was awarded the Chief Justice Award for his work to advance the administration of justice. He received the award again in 2010 for his efforts to improve access to justice for the poor in Mississippi. In 2009, the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project awarded Dickinson its Pro Bono Pioneer Award.

"I am committed to lead the Department to comply with all the benchmarks and requirements associated with the Olivia Y litigation, but that is not my ultimate end," Dickinson said. "Rather, I am determined to use every available resource to achieve our shared goal: making Mississippi a place where not one single abused or neglected child is overlooked, forgotten or unserved."

Dickinson has served on the adjunct faculty of William Carey College and Mississippi College School of Law, whose students elected him Adjunct Professor of the Year in 2009. He served two terms on both the Ethics and Professionalism Committee of the Mississippi Bar Association. Dickinson also serves as the Mississippi Supreme Court's liaison to organizations providing legal services to the poor, and is a charter member of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission.

Sent from my BlackBerry Priv


Disgusted attorney said...

The appointment of Chandler and now the appointment of Dickinson have been two of the most ridiculous appointments made by Gov. Bryant. Chandler was appointed so he could boost his retirement pay and the governor would get an appointment to the Supreme Court. Now, Dickinson is being given the same favor. The troubling part is this appointment is to head an agency that is crucial in the lives of children across our state. Neither of these justices, though very capable attorneys, have any real experience in the issues of children and juvenile justice that are what this department is all about. It is obvious Gov. Bryant doesn't understand what this agency is meant to do. The tragedy is children will suffer as a result of leadership who doesn't understand what is being led.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

At least this gets one of our most pro-criminal justices off our supreme court.

Anonymous said...

Agree 100% with 4:59.

Anonymous said...

Not so surprising, Dickinson was leaving the bench at the end of this term - already announced - which would have been next year. Rumor was that he wasn't stepping down early, allowing for an appointment of his successor. Guess the move to Children Services created enough of an incentive, although not sure that it affects his retirement.

Anonymous said...


Actually, Justice Dickinson would earn more compensation by staying on the Court than he would by taking a cabinet spot, even one paying the statutory cap. Your claim that he's taking the job to "boost his retirement pay" shows you know nothing about judicial compensation. Find another theory for why Dickinson took the job.

Disgusted Attorney said...

5:32 obviously does not know what Justice Chandler's salary has been or that it was a substantial raise from that of a supreme court justice.

Anonymous said...


Correct me if the numbers are wrong. The Gov earns $122k, a presiding justice on MSSC earns $124k and the comish job pays up to 150% of the gov's salary so up to $183k?

Anonymous said...

Dickinson may want to take a more activist role. The Dickinson family suffered a terrible tragedy with the death of their son several years ago.

Anonymous said...

I hope the governor will appoint Senator Tindal to take Justice Dickinson's place.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Justice Dickinson needs to take a job at this point to boast his retirement is confused. Dickinson had a distinguished legal career before he entered public service. Money is likely not his concern at this point. Additionally, because of his work a judge, he would see issues involving children that the general public might not even read about in the newspaper. He taught me at MC Law and he is a brilliant mind who is extremely humble and people oriented. He is a great pick. This is a loss for the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

5:54, are you saying he will likely donate his PERS pension back to the state? Or serve in this new job for free?

Anonymous said...

5:54. Don't fret. Fully the majority of posters on this website, owned and controlled by a real loser, are assholes and anonymous Braveheatrts. This man has accomplished more in a month than the sum total of these posters have in a lifetime. Post that James Andrews.

Anonymous said...

Feel continues to make the most ridiculous appointments.

Anonymous said...

5:46, OK, I'll correct you. The Chief Justice salary is +/- $157k; Presiding Justice is $155K. (plus, all Justices get per diem while in Jackson; commish job is based in Jackson so no per diem. Probably close to a wash as far as retirement goes.) Salary you are quoting was pre-2012 statute raising salaries of Judges and DA's statewide. The Commish salary is negotiable "up to" limit in statute.

Anonymous said...

6:37, I don't believe that the comment about the Justice is that he would give up his PERS benefits; I would hope your comprehension level is higher than indicated by your idiotic comment. There is a major difference between working for free or giving up a pension AND the idea that money is what motivated the individual to take the position.

Let's try it again - Dickinson has made a substantial living already in his life. He was in a position to retire, comfortably, prior to this appointment - something he was planning to do later this year. The fact that he will get paid a salary for this new position will, I am sure, be appreciated by the Justice, but surely wasn't the reason for leaving the comforts of the bench to take on the headaches at this agency.

Anonymous said...

The guy who thinks PJs making $124K is looking at old statute ... justices got a big pay raise in 15-16.... also overlooking the allowance too ...Presiding justice makes $154,833 .... also gets statutory allowance that amounts to $33K or $34K .... the old justices like Dickinson get to roll the allowance into PERS comp. So dickinson makes 187-188K

Anonymous said...

The Supremes need all the smart justices they can get. That's a loss.

Anonymous said...

That is a loss to defense bar and death row inmates. Victory for everyone else.

Anonymous said...

This is a bittersweet announcement. Sad because the Court has lost a great legal mind who applies the law. And great because the children of this state have gained someone who will do everything in his power to help them.

Anonymous said...

Agree 7:51. His crusade to try and revive the ridiculous notion of the right to a speedy trial was tiresome. His pointing out the constantly shifting "goalposts" regarding that aspect of the 6th amendment had to be embarrassing to DA's and real judges, the ones who are "tough on crime". We all know the only real amendment is the 2nd. All the others are libtard nonsense. I mean seriously, us real Americans don't need a judge who would write this:"But today…makes crystal clear this Court’s position on the right to a speedy trial: the life-support plug has been pulled, and the right to a speedy trial exists no more.” We all know the police only arrest the guilty.

Anonymous said...

Appoint Longwitz!

Anonymous said...

Of all the employees that work in Child Protective Services across the US and in Mississippi. The Governor could not find a single professional in that field!!! I assume thats why he ran and was elected our Governor. I have respect its his decision. On the other hand, I think it's sad. Kids lives are at stake, there is no time to figure this shigity out!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

4:59 said it best-being a good attorney and/or a good judge DOESN'T mean that he has the experience, knowledge, or expertise to run a multi-million dollar agency that's responsible for the most vulnerable. He will be just like any other political appointee-clueless on how to run a business. He may have good intentions, but that alone doesn't mean he can run a successful agency. I'm so ready for Phil to go to the house. Just when you think he's done the dumbest thing ever, he surprises you. Phil's motto should be, "Keeping Mississippi in last place."

Anonymous said...

Problem with this appointment is the mentality that exists in this administration, just as in many that are run by lawyers - that lawyers can run/manage anything.

Not all agencies, directorates, or branches fit the skill sets that result from law school or practicing law. In fact, most dont. Chandler at least had his education background and was not dependant on his term as a municipal or appealate judge.

Not sure what experience Dickinson has to add to his having paid his dues to the bar association.

Anonymous said...

A one hundred thousand dollar pension is not exactly chicken shit, for those of you who think he was already financially 'fixed for life'. Plus he can roll it down to his surviving spouse. He won't even have to show up for work at this newly appointed gig, has no need to own a calendar or a watch now. He can purchase some sandals and an entire wardrobe of those Bennie Thompson - Barbershop - shirts.

Once again Bryant shows himself to be just another Haley-esque stooge playing us all.

Anonymous said...

All judges are in PERS. Retirement is calculated based on your highest four years earnings at two percent of such for 24 years or less; 2.5 percent for 25 or more years. There is a cap, but I don't remember what it is. He could get a small increase for a couple years service as commissioner; a significant increase if he served four years.

Anonymous said...

...entire wardrobe of those Bennie Thompson - Barbershop - shirts.

Good one.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Justice Chris McDaniel.

Anonymous said...

"Appoint Longwitz!"

God and the saints forfend.

... Dickinson is probably the smartest justice we have, tho perhaps too prone to assuming that his first take is the only correct take. (A *very* smart person factors in the likelihood of being wrong on occasion.) Except for the Longwitz debacle, Bryant's appointments haven't been bad (and I am not a Bryant fan). A committee of lawyers, by no means all Republicans, gives him a list, and he's stuck to it apparently.

More To The Point.. said...

6:52; You've regurgitated what we all know already. Why quote the formula? This slides him into retirement in a do-nothing position. He won't show up twice a week but will claim he's 'working from home'. Two, three or four more years in the system is a magic carpet, increases his retirement income, continues to bring him two nice direct deposits per month (to be spent on the grandchildren of course), continues his health insurance and provides him with a vehicle, an expense account and a credit card for Tico's. Plus there's the spring and fall conference in Destin and various trips around the country to wine and dine with his counterparts...during which the wife can go on the 'spousal jaunts' ala the Thad Cochran days with his pretend-wife.

Disgusted Attorney said...

As you can see above, i am not a fan of this appointment. He is simply not the right person. However, i strongly disagree with those who are claiming Dickinson will coast into retirement. Dickinson is a perfectionist and an extremely hard worker. Anyone who knows him knows he will put a lot of effort into the position.

The Tanning Bed Lobby said...

PLEASE, Governor, appoint Will Longwitz.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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