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Patten seeking post on state Court of Appeals

Incumbent Chancery Court District 15 Judge Ed Patten ofHazlehurst has formally announced his candidacy for the state Courtof Appeals.

Patten is unopposed in his bid for re-election as chanceryjudge, allowing him to concentrate on his campaign for higheroffice. He is campaigning to replace Judge Leslie Southwick, who isnot seeking re-election, and cites a need to fill the seat withsomeone “who will be a strong voice for Mississippi values.”

“Mississippians work hard, play by the rules and have a healthyrespect for tradition. They should get the same from their judges,”Patten said. “Judge Southwick upheld that standard, and it will beone I’m dedicated to every day.”

The chancery judge began practicing law in Hazlehurst nearly 30years ago after receiving his pharmacy and law degrees from theUniversity of Mississippi. Patten could bring 14 years of judicialexperience to the Court of Appeals, eight years as chancery judgeand six years as a Youth Court judge.

Patten said he believes his years of experience, especially as atrial lawyer, would benefit the appellate court.

“I really feel at this time there is a need for more trial input… to provide balance and a different perspective on rulings theymake at that level,” Patten said.

The judge and his wife of 33 years, the former JacquelineRandolph, have three daughters. Erin Lane is an attorney, KatherineCarpenter is a teacher and Dr. Elizabeth Hitchcock is anoptometrist.

Patten has been an active member of the community, previouslyserving on the board of directors of the Hazlehurst Chamber ofCommerce. He and his wife are members of the First Baptist Churchof Hazlehurst, where he serves as deacon.

He has been a leader in both the legal and judicial communities,serving as president of the Copiah County Bar Association, Barcommissioner for the 22nd Circuit Court District, and judicialrepresentative to the Legislative Study Commission on theMississippi Judicial System. Patten has also served as presidingjudge on the Central District Complaint Tribunal for the SupremeCourt and the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules, where hewas elected vice-chairman for the last two years. He is also aFellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and a member of theCharles Clark Inn of the American Inns of Court.

Incumbent Chancery Court District 13 Place 1 Judge LarryBuffington, of Collins, is also among the field of eightchallenging for the appellate position. He, too, is unopposed forhis current position.

Patten will face seven opponents for the appellate position,including Buffington and State Rep. Virginia Carlson of Columbia.Also on the ballot are Bryant Chaffin of Hattiesburg, Pat J.McNamara Jr. of Jackson, Richard Grindstaff of Byram and ScottPhillips of Columbia.

The Court of Appeals District 4 includes, in whole or in part,15 counties, including Adams, Amite, Copiah, Covington, Franklin,Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pike,Simpson, Walthall and Wilkerson.

Should Patten win the appellate judge race, an appointment wouldbe made and a special election would be scheduled for the chanceryrace at a later date.

Appeals court judge serve eight-year terms. Chancery judgesserve four-year terms.