Southerland clarifies special judge appointment in Warren County

Southerland clarifies special judge appointment in Warren County

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Friday, the Vicksburg Daily News reported that the Mississippi Supreme Court had appointed retired County Judge John S. Price Jr. to assist the Warren County Court in handling a backlog of cases, as requested by Warren County Judge Marcie T. Southerland.

That information was provided by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Judge Southerland clarified the circumstances of the appointment Saturday in a social media post. Her complete statement appears below:

It has been reported that I, as your County Court judge, requested that the Mississippi Supreme Court appoint a Special Judge to assist with a backlog of cases in County Court. So that everyone knows, there are no backlog of cases either in County Court or Youth Court. Both courts have been operating timely and efficiently throughout this most extraordinary and difficult time. While the order of the Supreme Court does state that I requested the appointment of a Special Judge due to backlog of cases and, while some courts across the state are suffering a backlog of cases due to coronavirus, Warren County Youth Court and County Court have suffered no such backlog. It has been business as usual with few interruptions with all necessary precautions taken each day.

This past Wednesday, I presided over a civil trial, during which I, along with court staff and others, became directly exposed to the virus. On Thursday I learned of the exposure and immediately began following the CDC guidelines and the guidelines of Mississippi Dept. of Health. I advised my staff members who were exposed to the virus to immediately quarantine themselves at home. I immediately quarantined myself.

Due to the emergency nature of Youth Court matters, the Youth Court judge must be available to hold court every day. As a result of being quarantined at home, I found it necessary to request the appointment of a Special Judge to hear Youth Court matters. Upon that request being made, the Mississippi Supreme Court acted immediately, and the appointment was made. The order of appointment also allows the Special Appointed Judge to hear County Court matters if necessary. I appreciate the courtesies and the immediate action taken by the Mississippi Supreme Court honoring my request for the appointment of a Special Judge.

I am fine with no symptoms whatsoever, and I expect that I will continue to be fine. I have checked with staff and everyone seems to be doing fine. However, we will remain quarantined until the appropriate time has passed. In the meantime, I will be conducting matters via Zoom and the Special Appointed Judge will be presiding over matters deemed necessary.

I remain forever grateful, humbled and honored to serve as your County Court judge. I wanted you to hear from me why I found it necessary to request that a Special Judge appointment be made.

God Bless you all. Stay safe during this time.