Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Two Ole Miss Law Alumni Vie for Supreme Court Seat

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

Hotty Toddy News will be running stories about local candidates in the upcoming Nov. 3 election throughout the rest of the week. Today we focus on the race for Supreme Court Justice, District 3, Place 3. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order for fairness.

Incumbent Supreme Court Justice Josiah Coleman will face challenger Chancery Court Judge Percy Lynchard Jr. for the District 3, Place 3 seat on the high court.

Coleman, of Fentress, was elected to the Supreme Court in 2012 and began his term in January 2013. He previously practiced law in Tupelo and Oxford and had served as a law clerk for U.S. Magistrate S. Allan Alexander in Oxford.

Coleman said he believes Mississippians need two things in order to enjoy increased prosperity – freedom and the rule of law.

“I am running for re-election because I understand the value of a fair and efficient judiciary to my fellow Mississippians,” he said. “It is my hope that I will be re-elected on Nov. 3 so that I can continue to make sure Mississippians have the latter.”

His eight years of being a Supreme Court justice is what Coleman says makes him the best candidate.

“I am already familiar with every type of case that comes before the Supreme Court, from death penalty appeals to civil litigation,” he said.

Coleman earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law and his LLM in Judicial Studies from Duke University.

Supreme Court Justice Josiah Coleman

“I am committed to a judicial philosophy that respects the rule of law and the separation of powers, and I understand that policy-making decisions rest with the people and their elected legislators rather than the courts,” he said.

If elected, Coleman said he intends to continue building on his record from the last eight years by writing opinions based on the law and not on his opinion of what laws should be.

“In so doing, I want to make it clear to every litigant that appears before a court in Mississippi that they can expect the law to be observed and enforced as written,” he said. “I also want to make sure that Mississippi’s courts remain open to all of our citizens, and that the people of Mississippi can track the activity of the Supreme Court as we carry out our work.”

The District 3 seat covers Alcorn, Attala, Benton, Calhoun, Carroll, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Coahoma, DeSoto, Grenada, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Mashall, Monroe, Montgomery, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Tunica, Union, Webster, Winston and Yalobusha counties.

Lynchard, of Hernando, is serving his seventh term as chancery judge for the 3rd Chancery District and is currently the senior chancellor for the district.

Chancery Judge Percy Lynchard Jr

Lynchard did not respond to Hottytoddy.com’s request for an interview; however, he was quoted in an article in Mississippi Today as saying, “I will bring many, many years – 26 as a Chancery Judge – of experience in Chancery matters to the Court, something that is extremely lacking on the Court currently. If elected, I will bring an emphasis on such areas and cases.”

He has practiced law for 14 years in general practice, including banking law, family law, real estate and personal injury law. He served for 10 years as Municipal Judge for the City of Hernando, four years as DeSoto County prosecuting attorney and city prosecutor for the City of Hernando, and 26 years as Chancellor for the 3rd Chancery District. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in social sciences from Delta State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.