Replacement sought for federal magistrate Davis

By Patsy Brumfield / NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – A group of attorneys and county supervisors will consider a replacement for retiring U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerry A. Davis of Tupelo.
Based in Aberdeen, the 64-year-old Davis recently announced he will retire effective July 1 after 37 years in the federal judiciary.
Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills ordered the appointment of the selection panel, with seven attorneys and two lay members.
All of them live in the extreme western part of the Northern District.
Mills said the new magistrate will be based in Greenville after Magistrate David A. Sanders, now in Greenville, is transferred to Aberdeen.
“I just feel like lawyers in the Delta area should have major input into nominees for the post,” Mills said.
Nominations will be made to the committee, which has 90 days to recommend five of them to the full court for a decision.
“It’s been a great job – I’ve loved it,” Davis said Monday. He’ll be 65 on July 1.
He also said he plans “to really retire” and do some woodworking projects, although down the road he might like to teach American government or law classes in the region.
Selection panel members from Greenville are Supervisors Alfred Rankins and Paul Watson, and attorneys Phillip Mansour Jr. and Gaines Dyer. Mansour is the committee’s chairman.
Others are attorneys Mary Kathryn Roberts Clark of Cleveland, Richard G. Noble of Indianola, John Keith Perry Jr. of Southaven and Whitman Davis Mounger and Charles Swayze Jr., both of Greenwood.
A federal magistrate judge is a federal judge who serves in a United States district court. They are assigned duties by the district judges in the district in which they serve.
S. Allan Alexander of Oxford is the district’s other magistrate judge.
Magistrate judges may preside over most phases of of federal proceedings, except for criminal felony trials. The specific duties of a magistrate judge vary from district to district, but the responsibilities always include handling matters that would otherwise be on the dockets of the district judges.
Full-time magistrate judges serve for renewable terms of eight years. Some federal district courts have part-time magistrate judges, who serve for renewable terms of four years.
The U.S. Congress established the role of federal magistrate judges in 1968 with the Federal Magistrates Act of 1968 to replace the role of federal court commissioner with the broader and more powerful office of United States Magistate.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.