I was surprised to read on Tuesday that Miss. Supreme Court Justice Jess Dickinson is leaving the Court to lead the State’s Child Protection Services. Here is the Clarion-Ledger’s article.

Justice Dickinson represented District 2 on the Court. This district covers the Coast, Pine Belt and Southwest Mississippi.

He joined the Court in 2004 after defeating Justice McRae in an election.

Justice Dickinson has a friendly demeanor on the bench during oral arguments that reminds me of Judge Grady Jolly on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves.

He also managed to write “peas don’t taste good” in a Supreme Court opinion about the sale of a building. That alone makes him a judicial legend in my book.

Dickinson is probably best known in legal circles for his dissenting opinions critical of Mississippi not giving speedy trials to criminal defendants.

He was also a long time member of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission and clearly had a genuine interest in improving access to the judicial system for the poor.

It will be interesting to see who Governor Bryant appoints to replace Justice Dickinson on the Court. It could be a Court of Appeals judge, one of the many outstanding trial court judges in District 2 or an attorney who practices in the region. It could even be a politician who serves in the state legislature, although I’m not sure how popular that would be among the bench and bar. My guess is not very.