Judge Murphey appointed to Commission on Judicial Performance

Published 6:13 am Sunday, May 2, 2021

Chief Justice Mike Randolph has appointed Circuit Judge Smith Murphey V of Batesville as a member of the Commission on Judicial Performance and Judge Stanley A. Sorey of Raleigh as an alternate member.

Judge Murphey has served as an alternate member of the judicial disciplinary body since February 2020. Gov. Tate Reeves recommended that Judge Murphey take the place on the Commission previously held by Judge John Emfinger of Brandon, and that Judge Sorey be appointed as an alternate member. Judge Emfinger stepped down from the Commission when he left the Circuit Court bench to become a judge of the Mississippi Court of Appeals on March 3.

 The order signed by Chief Justice Randolph on April 12 appoints Judges Murphey and Sorey for the balance of the current Judicial Performance terms that will end Dec. 31, and for new six-year terms which will end Dec. 31, 2027.

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The Commission on Judicial Performance investigates allegations of judicial misconduct and makes recommendations for discipline to the Supreme Court. The Commission includes seven members and seven alternates. An alternate member sits on a judicial disciplinary hearing panel when a member has a conflict or cannot otherwise participate.

Judge Murphey joined the 17th Circuit bench in January 2011. The district includes DeSoto, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate and Yalobusha counties. Judge Murphey previously served as chair,  vice-chair and secretary  treasurer of the Conference of Circuit Judges.

He previously served as an assistant district attorney of the 17th Circuit District for almost 15 years.  He is former president of the Mississippi Prosecutors Association and former president of the Prosecutors Section of the Mississippi Bar.  He has served on the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions since January 2009.

Judge Murphey earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Mississippi and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law. He served for two years as a law clerk for former Supreme Court Justice James L. Roberts Jr. of Pontotoc.

Judge Sorey has served on the 13th Circuit Court bench since January 2016. He is senior judge of the district that includes Covington, Jasper, Simpson and Smith counties. He was in private law practice for more than 16 years before he was elected Circuit Judge. He served as Smith County Prosecutor and municipal prosecutor for the towns of Mize and Taylorsville. He was board attorney for the Smith County Board of Supervisors for 10 years. He was president of the Smith County Bar Association for 14 years.

Judge Sorey served for six years in the Mississippi National Guard, including active duty during Operation Desert Storm.

Judge Sorey earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi College and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law. He also attended Jones County Junior College, Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi.