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The chief judge raised the salaries of judges, then deputies gave them another

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Last year, Mississippi lawmakers increased the salaries that Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Randolph gave himself and other state judges last year and provided judges with additional salary increases during the 2022 session.

The House of Representatives bill 1423, passed during the 2022 session and signed by Governor Tate Reeves, introduces into law a pay raise that was passed in early 2021 by the Chief Justice. In addition, from January 1, 2023, the law provides for an additional salary increase for nine judges of the State Supreme Court, 10 judges of the Court of Appeal, 57 district judges and 52 chancellors.

Randolph’s salary increase is from $ 174,000 a year to $ 181,490. Another salary increase starting in 2023:

  • Chairman of the Supreme Court from $ 169,500 to $ 176,737.
  • Assistant Judges in the Supreme Court from $ 166,500 to $ 173,800.

The Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal, starting in 2023, will receive a salary increase of $ 7,849 to $ 169,349, while assistant judges will receive a salary increase of $ 9,967 to $ 168,467.

Judges of the District Court of First Instance, both district and clerical, will receive an increase of $ 9,000 to $ 158,000 starting in 2023.

The salary increase, which is due to begin on January 1, is in addition to the salary increase that Randolph awarded to judges in early 2021.

Before accepting a pay raise in 2021, in December 2020 Randolph wrote a letter informing Executive Chief of Staff Kelly Hardwick that he had authorized a $ 15,000 pay raise for himself to bring his salary up to $ 174. $ 000 per year, and assigned a similar salary increase to other members of the state’s judicial system.

While the salaries of most elected officials in the Mississippi are set by the legislature – traditionally the only state body authorized to allocate money – the provision in the 2012 law apparently gives the Supreme Court chairman the power to raise the salaries of the judiciary without legislative approval. . .

READ MORE: Supreme Court Chief Silently Raises Salaries for Himself and Other Judges Without Legislation

At a time when Randolph was accepting a pay raise, some lawmakers questioned his authority to introduce a pay raise. But during the 2022 session, the legislature did not change the law to ensure that the chief justice cannot impose similar increases in the future. Instead, the legislature introduced these Randolph wage increases, passed in 2021, into law and provided for additional wage increases starting in 2023.

Legislation in 2022 also provides for an increase in the salaries of district prosecutors from $ 125,900 to $ 134,400 from January 1.

In addition to the right to increase the salaries of judges, the 2012 legislation, authored by then-Chamber of Justice President Mark Baker, R. Brandon, also increased fees for various court documents – such as civil lawsuits or criminal fees – to help pay the salary increase. Some argued that at the time the increase in various court documents was equivalent to a tax increase for those who use the courts. But then-Chief Justice William Waller Jr., who advocated for the 2012 legislation, said that at the time judges were in desperate need of a pay rise, and he was trying to take responsibility by providing a way to pay for it.

During the 2022 session, lawmakers also provided for a significant increase in the salaries of other elected officials.

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