OF JUDGMENT: 01/31/2018
FROM WHICH APPEALED: MISSISSIPPI COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL
PERFORMANCE HON. KENT McDANIEL TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: DARLENE D. BALLARD RACHEL W. MICHEL
MEAGAN E. BRITTAIN.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: DERRICK T. SIMMONS.
The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance
(Commission) filed a formal complaint against Justice Court
Judge Mary Curry. The complaint outlined multiple allegations
of misconduct on the part of Judge Curry, and ultimately, the
Commission and Judge Curry entered into an agreed stipulation
of facts, with a proposed recommendation of a public
reprimand. The Commission and Judge Curry filed a joint
motion for approval of the recommendation with the Court. We
accept and affirm the Commission's recommendation of a
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Judge Curry served as the justice court judge for the Eastern
District of Claiborne County. In the instant case, Judge
Curry agreed to the following findings of fact:
1. Judge Curry "has signed warrants based on affidavits
sworn by her relatives . . . ." After signing the
warrants, Judge Curry would not set bond even though the
charges were misdemeanors. Judge Curry would recuse herself
from the case, citing her relationship to the affiants.
2. Judge Curry "disposed of Protection from Domestic
Abuse Petitions, in violation of the Mississippi Protection
From Domestic Abuse Act . . . [by] display[ing] a pattern of
dismissing Petition for Order of Protection From Domestic
Abuse without having the statutorily mandated hearing."
3. Judge Curry "presided over the Initial Appearance of
. . . a relative concerning his Possession of a Controlled
Substance charge" setting the bond at $50, 000. However,
later, the relative filed "what purports to be a Motion
for Bond Reduction. The Motion for Bond Reduction is blank
and it does not state any reason for [the relative]'s
bond to be reduced[, ]" and only contains the
relative's signature. Yet, Judge Curry granted the
reduction and reduced bond to $5, 000.
4. Judge Curry waived an expungement fee and "directed
the clerks to void the receipts in [the] matter and to refund
. . . the money."
5. Judge Curry, "after being informed of th[e instant
matter] and the identity of the complainant[, ] submitted a
letter to the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors,
requesting that they transfer the complainant from her
position as Justice Court Clerk." Judge Curry cited the
filing of the complaint as a reason for removal.
Curry stipulated that her conduct as outlined above, violated
the following canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct: Canons
1, 2A, 2B, 3B(1), 3B(2), 3B(5), 3B(7), 3B(8), and 3C(1).
Additionally, Judge Curry stipulated that her conduct also
violated Mississippi Code Section 93-21-11 (Rev. 2013) and
Mississippi Code Section 25-7-25 (Rev. 2010). Lastly, Judge
Curry agreed that her conduct violated Section 177A of the
Mississippi Constitution as it is conduct prejudicial to the
administration of justice, which brings the judicial office
The Commission and Judge Curry agreed to a proposed
recommendation of a public reprimand. On March 12, 2018, the
Commission filed a joint motion requesting the Court approve
the Commission's findings of fact and recommendation.
According to Section 177A of the Mississippi Constitution:
On recommendation of the commission on judicial performance,
the Supreme Court may remove from office, suspend, fine or
publicly censure or reprimand any justice or judge of this
state for: (a) actual conviction of a felony in a court other
than a court of the State of Mississippi; (b) willful
misconduct in office; (c) willful and persistent failure to
perform his duties; (d) habitual intemperance in the use of
alcohol or other drugs; or (e) conduct prejudicial to the
administration of justice which brings the judicial office
into disrepute; and may retire involuntarily any justice or
judge for physical or mental disability seriously interfering
with the performance of his duties, which disability is or is
likely to become of a permanent character.
Commission on Judicial Performance Rule 10(E) provides that
the Court "shall prepare and publish a written opinion
and judgment directing such disciplinary action, if any, as
it finds just and proper. The Supreme Court may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and
recommendation of the ...