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On the Ballot: Liddy, Little Hope to Become Lafayette County’s Next Chancery Judge

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

Photo by Talbert Toole.

The race for 18th District Chancery Court Judge will be decided Tuesday during a runoff election between former Oxford Municipal Judge Lawrence “Larry” Little and Marshall County attorney Sarah J. Liddy.

After Judge Glenn Alderson announced he would not be seeking re-election, three attorneys qualified to run to take his Place One seat as 18th Chancery Court Judge – Lawrence “Larry” Little, Carnelia Fondren and Sarah J. Liddy.

During the general election on Nov. 6, Little earned about 42 percent of the votes, while Liddy earned about 33 percent. Fondren garnered about 25 percent of the votes, leaving Little and Liddy to head to the runoff.

The Lafayette County Chancery Court is often referred to as the “family court,” as it holds jurisdiction over matters like family law, sanity hearings, wills, child custody and adoptions.

The 18th Chancery Court is located in the Lafayette County Chancery Building and hears cases from Benton, Calhoun, Marshall, Tippah and Lafayette counties.

Chancery Court Judge elections are nonpartisan.

Meet Larry Little

Lawrence “Larry” Little

Little has been an attorney for 40 years. He served as District Attorney for the Third Circuit of the state of Mississippi for 10 years and as the Oxford Municipal Judge for 19 years. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law and a state-approved mediator.

Originally from Cooter, Missouri, he attended college in Mississippi. In 1973, he received a B.A. from the University of Mississippi with a major in speech and a minor in English. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Jackson School of Law at Mississippi College in 1977 and completed the F.B.I. Law Institute in Quantico, Virginia in 1991.

“During my 40 years of law practice, I have had trials in Federal, Circuit and Chancery Courts,” Little said recently. “I am a litigator who will negotiate when necessary but will not back down from a difficult case, conflict or client.”

Little said he has represented clients in every aspect of Chancery Court, including divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, will contests, real property disputes, commercial litigation, commitments, guardianships, conservatorships and estates.

“My temperament and work ethic will allow me to achieve the daily goal of dealing with a myriad of cases on the docket, just as was done in my time on the bench as a Municipal judge,” he said. “My knowledge and experience gained from working with elected officials, court personnel, law enforcement, attorneys and individual in each county in the district will be used to produce an efficiently run court.”

As Oxford’s Municipal Judge for two decades, Little gained experience he said will help him excel as a Chancery judge.

“Serving as Oxford’s Municipal judge … provided experience in making decisions, moving cases along and getting along with people in law enforcement and defendants,” he said.

Little is married to Debbie and they have three married children and five grandchildren.

Meet Sarah J. Liddy

Sarah J. Liddy

Liddy has been practicing law for 25 years, primarily taking on family law matters including divorce, child custody and support, adoptions, wills and estates and real estate issues. For the past 18 years, she’s served as Youth Court Referee and has also served as interim Youth Court Referee for Benton and Tippah counties.

As a Chancery Court attorney for 25 years, Liddy has handled all types of Chancery cases – divorce, child custody, child support, parent and grandparent visitation rights, paternity, adoptions and more. As the Youth Court Referee, she oversees cases involving minors who are dealing with delinquency, truancy, abuse and neglect and need supervision.

“I also serve as Marshall County’s Master in Chancery hearing all mental health, drug and alcohol commitment petitions for involuntary treatment at the state hospitals,” she said. “When there has been a vacancy or conflict of interest, I have also served as Special Referee for Benton and Tippah counties.”

Liddy, a lifelong Marshall County resident, received her law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1992 after earning her Bachelor of Arts degree from Ole Miss in 1987.

Before entering private practice, she completed an internship and was a special assistant for the U.S. Attorney in Oxford, followed by a law clerkship for the Chancery and Circuit courts in Clarksdale.

Liddy said if elected, she will use her experiences working in most Chancery Courts in north Mississippi to institute new practices and become more efficient. She plans to do this by holding more hearings in a timely manner; by conducting pretrial/settlement conferences before final trial dates; by keeping updated court calendars online; holding office hours in each of the five counties; and by motivating all counties to use the Mississippi electronic filing system.

Liddy is married to Tim Bisenius. In their free time, they enjoy traveling and attending sporting and artistic events.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Mississippi. Voters must bring a valid form of photo identification such as a driver’s license or a student ID.


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