By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Even before law school, Josiah Coleman, whose father and grandfather served in the judiciary, said his ambition was to be a judge.
On Monday, Coleman, a 40-year-old resident of Toccopola in rural Pontotoc County, was sworn in by Chief Justice William Waller Jr. as a Mississippi Supreme Court justice.
Coleman’s wife, the former Ashleigh Burke, a Columbia, S.C., native, whom he met on a blind date, held the Bible for the oath of office in the courtroom of the Gartin Justice Building. Their 9-month-old daughter also was in attendance as well as his parents, including his father Tom Coleman, who served on the Court of Appeals.
“This is the job I want. This is what I want to do,” said Coleman, whose grandfather, J.P. Coleman served as governor from 1956-60, served briefly on the state Supreme Court and later served on the federal Court of Appeals.
Coleman was elected to a nine-year term in November, defeating Batesville attorney Richard “Flip” Phillips to replace George Carlson, who retired.
On Monday, incumbents Michael Randolph and Leslie King, who both won their elections in November, also were sworn in for the new term. Waller, who also was re-elected in November, will be sworn in for a new term in January 2014.
He was re-elected in November for a term that begins in 2014.
In the swearing-in, Waller said he believes Coleman’s experience trying cases and his unique family heritage will bring welcome perspective to the nine-member Supreme Court.
Coleman downplayed his relatively young age. He said, “Experience is important, but being able to think, read and research and the ability to work hard” are valuable assets on the court.
“I expect I will be getting to work real soon. We have some things coming up already,” he said.