Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Chief Judge on COA to retire

The Mississippi Court of Appeals issued the following statement.

Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee of the Court of Appeals of the State of Mississippi announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his term in December 2018.

Judge Lee earlier this year filed qualifying papers to seek reelection. On Tuesday, he withdrew his candidacy.

“At the end of this term, I will have served 20 years on the Court. It is time I step aside and permit qualified candidates who otherwise would not run against me the opportunity to seek the office. I will continue to serve out the remainder of my term,” Judge Lee said.

Judge Lee, 72, of Jackson, was first elected to the Court of Appeals in November 1998 and took office in January 1999. Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. appointed Judge Lee as administrative head of the Court of Appeals March 3, 2011. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court selects the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals from the judges of that court. Judge Lee previously served for seven years as a presiding judge.

Judge Lee was born in Poplarville and grew up in Lamar County. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi and the former William Carey College, now William Carey University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from William Carey and a law degree from the former Jackson School of Law, now Mississippi College School of Law.

Judge Lee was honored as Mississippi College School of Law’s 2004 Lawyer of the Year. The Mississippi House of Representatives in 2004 passed a resolution honoring him for his judicial service and for teaching and mentoring students. The University of Southern Mississippi honored him with its Juris Sodalitas Distinguished Public Servant Award in 2007. William Carey University named him to the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2014. Mississippi College School of Law presented an Honorary Master of Laws to Judge Lee in 2009, and honored him with the Outstanding Judicial Service Award in 2015.

Judge Lee is married to Renee Simon Lee. They have three children and six grandchildren.


Anonymous said...

Two people have already qualified to run against Jeff for this (now open) seat.

Anonymous said...

Getting honored by Missississippi College “School of Law” is hardly worth celebrating. Such a “distinguished” jurist has no accolades from Ole Miss... says enough right there.

Anonymous said...

Wow @7:25 PM, spoken like a true Ole Miss snob!

Anonymous said...

Who else is running for this other than Weill - whoever it is I hope they have seen the list of folks that are hosting Weill's fundraiser KF posted.

Anonymous said...

Here is another case of a person getting out of the race before they get beat, as McDaniel did by withdrawing from the race against Wicker. Say what you will about him, but Jeff Weill has a very strong political apparatus and lots of money. He was perfectly positioned to challenge Lee and would have given him a strong run. Lee knew he would have to put together a modern campaign and he realized health and age weren’t on his side. He did the smart thing and called it a day.

Matt said...

David McCarty qualified today for this position. He’s practiced primarily appellate law for the last 14 years or so. Clerked at the Mississippi Supreme Court for two Justices and has handled a wide variety of subject areas; Family law, criminal, business and constitutional matters, among other areas. Of the current candidates, he defintely has the most appellate experience, most appearances before the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court and has the respect of the Justices, Judges and fellow lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Glad Judge Lee decided to tetire. Nice man but never an outstanding Judge. And recently his actions on the court have shown that time has passed him by.

I'm sure there will be several good individuals run for this open seat, but agree with the comment above that Weill has a good base and the experience to be a tough candidate to beat. Whoever it is, though, out of the declared and potential candidates, it will be an improvement for the court.

Anonymous said...

I was struck by his obvious arrogance. To paraphrase, "I'll step aside and let those who were afraid to run against me enter the mix for my job. Otherwise, they'd never have had the balls."

Didn't he also win the 'Chuck McRae Harley-Davidson Waterworks Curve Award of Excellence and Rubber Laying' one year?

Anonymous said...

Hey, 7:25, that's a nice, little Tier 4 law school you got there up in Oxford. Brag away, bro.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Weill did not know that Judge Lee was retiring before he made the decision to run is a moron.

Anonymous said...

The results are in: The tallest midget award goes toUM law!

Anonymous said...

8:35, you have it backwards my friend. Judge Lee has adamantly stated that he was running again, even after Clanton, and then Weill, announced. This is Eastland in 1978 all over again - Lee wanted another 8 year paycheck without an election; but once he saw he would actually have to run he opted out. Its always tough to lose that last race, and he didnt want to join that crowd.

Anonymous said...

7:25, Remember Dickey Scruggs is a product of Sardis/Batesville University.

Anonymous said...

McCarty would have no chance against Weill. Although he has done quite a bit of appellate work for solo practitioners who don't have the time or expertise, I'm not sure his creative writing skills and theatrics earn high respect from appellate judges, who are typically just concerned with applying the facts to the law.

Anonymous said...

11:00 - saying appellate judges "just apply the facts to the law" (besides being backwards) is a lot like saying "jurors just decide who's telling the truth."

There's a little more to it than that.

As for "theatrics" ... would that really be an issue Jeff "Drama Queen" Weill would want to raise?

(I hope someone drags up and publicizes the time he sued his airline for making him late.)

Elections are tricky, but I suspect if the appellate judges themselves picked their successor, McCarty would be a shoo-in over Weill.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:25 Most of the folks that graduate from the law school at the Ole' Missus' couldn't make it outside of Mississippi because they wouldn't know anyone already in a position to help them. RARELY do they even make a go of it outside the plantation because they're lazy and would rather know the judge than actually practice and know the law. Perhaps Mississippi College of Law is turning out the grinders that will be the true future leaders, and not the corrupt and spineless sycophants turned out from the plantation.

Non-sycophant said...

2:14. Appears that u have an ole miss phobia! Did ur girlfriend leave u for a corrupt, spinless, ole miss sycophant!

Anonymous said...

The comments demonstrate that no matter how good either law school is, they are still capable of producing morons who can’t spot an internet troll, can’t stay on subject (COA Election, not law schools), and haven’t been out of school long enough to know that no one cares where you went to law school 5 minutes after the bar.

Anonymous said...

at 8:51 Of course they can all produce morons, but when you have an "affiliation" with a certain school it can "opens door" if someone you know is in a position to help out that is also affiliated with said school. Don't act like it doesn't happen. It's what Mississippi's worthless government is based on, and it stinks.

Anonymous said...

Is that not true for all professions?

Anonymous said...

Yes, but in Mississippi it's more incestuous than anywhere else, because so many stay here because they "know" someone, and couldn't make it outside of the state. So - they protect each other with a vengeance.....including even judges.

Unknown said...

7:25 is one stupid individual and the reason why the Mississippi Bar needs a lawyer and judges assistance program. My name is Kathleen Cook. Use your own names if you are members of the Bar. I am not afraid to do it. Don't post as anonymous if you are actually an officer of the Court..cowards.

Anonymous said...

well which one are you, Cook or Baxter? Perhaps you should have stuck with anonymous.

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