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New circuit, chancery judges ready to serve community

New Chancery Court Judge Bradley Tennison is surrounded by his family as he takes the oath of office from retiring Chancery Judge John Hatcher.

Staff photo by Brant Sappington

Surrounded by family, friends and supporters the area's newest circuit and chancery judges officially joined the judiciary on Friday.

Newly elected Post 1 Chancery Court Judge Bradley D. Tennison and Post Circuit Court Judge John R White were sworn into office before a standing room only crowd at Northeast Mississippi Community College.

Both became only the second to hold their respective seats since the district's judicial posts were split into individual seats prior to the 2006 elections. Tennison steps into the post held by Chancellor John A Hatcher and White fills the position held by Circuit Judge Jim Pounds, both of whom were elected 12 years ago and chose not to seek reelection this year.

Tennison, a Booneville attorney who has served Prentiss County's youth court referee, said he takes very seriously the responsibility placed on him by the new office and he's looking forward to serving.

"I am honored, I am humbled and I'm excited to take on the role as chancery judge," he said.

He praised Hatcher for his example of service and honor and thanked his family for their support and encouragement.

Tennison said much of what he has learned about being an attorney has come through the lessons of his friend, mentor and law partner, attorney Gene Gifford. The new judge said Gifford took him under his wing and constantly reminded him that at the core of it all is caring for people.

"He taught me that it was about caring for your fellow man and your community," he said.

White, a Booneville native who has practiced civil and criminal law for more than three decades and is based in Iuka, said he's looking forward to the new chapter in his life.

"I'm just excited about the opportunity and want to hit the ground running," he said.

White also praised his predecessor for his example and his encouragement. He said he's especially looking forward to continuing the work Pounds began with the establishment of drug court.

White said he understands the enormity of the job ahead.

"I'm humbled by it all and I will try my best," he said.

The new judge said at the end of the day it all comes down to a simple idea.

"If I ever have anything to fall back on, it's just to do the right thing," he said.