JACKSON — The need for judicial pay raises will be the topic of a panel discussion Jan. 24 at the Capital Club in Jackson. The Capital Area Bar Association will host the discussion during its Bench and Bar Relations CLE luncheon.
Panelists are expected to include Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., Court of Appeals Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee, retired Ninth District Circuit Judge Frank Vollor and professor Matt Steffey of the Mississippi College School of Law.
Salaries for Mississippi’s trial and appellate judges are the lowest in the nation, according to the annual survey by the National Center for State Courts. The last pay raise for Mississippi trial and appellate court judges went into effect in 2003.
The Mississippi judiciary has requested that the 2012 Legislature enact a pay raise for justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the Court of Appeals, Chancery Courts, Circuit Courts and County Courts. The judiciary has proposed to fund the raises through increases in civil filing fees and appellate court fees, without the need for money from the state general fund. The judiciary’s proposal calls for incremental pay raises spread over four years.
Salaries of state court judges are set by state law under Mississippi Code Section 25-3-35. Current salaries are: Supreme Court Chief Justice, $115,390; Supreme Court Presiding Justices, $113,190; Supreme Court Associate Justices, $112,530; Court of Appeals Chief Judge, $108,130; Court of Appeals Associate Judges, $105,050; Chancery Judges, $104,170; and, Circuit Judges, $104,170.
County Court judges’ salaries are set by Mississippi Code Section 9-9-11. Salaries vary by county population. Some counties are authorized to pay a salary of $1,000 less than Chancery and Circuit Court judges.