Justice George Carlson

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Presiding Mississippi Supreme Court Justice George C. Carlson of Batesville was presented the 2012 Distinguished Jurist Award at Mississippi State University March 29. Shown at the award luncheon are members of the justice’s family, from left, son Russel Carlson, daughter Meredith Carlson Fleming, and wife Jane Carlson. Photo provided

Retiring justice says will continue role for Tigers

By Rupert Howell

Presiding State Supreme Court Justice George C. Carlson cited events following Katrina and judicial bribery trials within the state as two of the most important events during his time on the state’s highest court last Thursday at Mississippi State University where he was presented the 2012 Distinguished Jurist Award.

Speaking to a bevy of judges and lawyers from across the state as well as a couple of dozen family members and friends from his hometown, Carlson recalled that 268 volumes of Supreme Court opinions had been published during his time there while Chief Justice William Waller recalled that  Carlson had written 319 opinions.

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Waller also recognized Carlson’s work ethic with long hours logged week in and week out, “Except for Friday nights during football season.”

Carlson also serves as the Voice of the South Panola Tigers, a label mentioned often during the ceremony, and a labor of love that Carlson plans to continue following his retirement in December.
Carlson told the group that the state now has a plan in place for the state’s court systems should another catastrophe such as Katrina strike. He  commended the court for keeping courts open soon after Katrina struck. He stated emergency preparedness plans are now in place for the court system to continue operation.

Carlson also said those responsible for judicial bribery scandals in both north and south Mississippi courts  are being held accountable and rulings on those cases will be, “… taught in textbooks in the state and nation from now on.”

Carlson laid blame in the judicial bribery scandal on, “… one percent of lawyers,” while noting that most involved were friends and acquaintances.

Carlson announced his retirement prior to last Christmas stating that he wanted anyone considering a run for the office to have plenty of time to make the decision.

Some past recipients of the Distinguished Jurist Award include Chief Justice Waller, Harvard Law Professor and Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox, Chief Judge and former governor J.P. Coleman, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and others since its inception in 1977.