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Baker chosen as new youth court referee

Following Michael Taylor’s appointment as the new 14th Districtcircuit court judge, 15th District Chancery Court Judge Ed Pattensaid he has named Brookhaven attorney Lesa Baker as the chancerydistrict’s new youth court referee.

Patten said Baker had experience as a public defender in bothcircuit and chancery court and has served as a guardian ad litemfor children in instances of abuse and neglect. The judge alsocited Baker’s meticulous preparation, care and concern for allchildren who pass through the court system.

“Lesa has the experience representing youth who have beenaccused of being juvenile delinquents and representing theinterests of children where there have been allegations of abuseand neglect,” Patten said. “Because of that, I believe she is mostqualified to take over Mike’s role as youth court referee.”

Taylor had been youth court referee for more than 10 years,serving from 1993-97 and from 1998 to 2005.

Patten said Baker, who is now in private practice, would besworn in as soon as possible, probably sometime next week. Bakerwas unavailable for comment Thursday.

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop was optimistic about Baker’sappointment. In addition to her work as a public defender, Bishopcited Baker’s periodic appointments as a special master to presideover mental commitment proceedings.

“She’ll be great,” Bishop said. “She’s going to be a good youthcourt referee.”

The 15th Chancery Court District includes Lincoln and Copiahcounties.