Court of Appeals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Judge Donna Barnes

Kelly Mims

Panola ballots will include one of two appeals court races

By Billy Davis

A Mississippi Court of Appeals judge, seeking re-election, is facing a challenge from a Tupelo attorney. In the District 1 race, Judge Donna M. Barnes, also of Tupelo, is facing challenger Kelly L. Mims.

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The District 1 seat includes the southern portion of Panola County. The entire district stretches across 23 counties in North Mississippi and includes neighbors Lafayette, Tate and Yalobusha.

The District 1 seat will be further identified as “Position 2” on the November 2 ballot.

 Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Barnes to a vacancy on the court in 2004. She was elected unopposed in 2006.

Barnes obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1985, according to her biography.

Before her appointment, Barnes practiced law in Tupelo with Mitchell, McNutt and Sams, the largest law firm in North Mississippi.

On the Appeals Court, she claims to have authored more than 300 majority opinions.

Mims is a 2000 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law. He has a private law practice and serves as public defender in Lee County. He serves as a major in the Army Reserves, according to his campaign Web site.

District 2 race

Some Panola County voters will see a separate Court of Appeals race on their ballots. In the District 2 race, Judge Tyree Irving is seeking re-election and faces a challenge from Ceola James.

District 2 includes much of the Delta. Most of northern Panola County, and a sliver of southwest Panola County, form the eastern boundary.

Irving, of Greenwood, was the first African-American to serve as an assistant United States attorney in Mississippi since Reconstruction when he was hired for the Northern District of Mississippi.

Irving graduated from the University of Mississippi Law School in 1975.

James, of Vicksburg, formerly served as a chancery court judge. She graduated from Miss. College Law School.