Wednesday, Governor Tate Reeves announced his appointment of Grady Franklin “Gray” Tollison as circuit court judge for the 3rd Circuit Court District, Place 1.
“I’ve known Gray for years, and his commitment to his fellow Mississippians is unmatched. He was a strong leader for Mississippi in the Senate, and he will continue to be a strong leader on the bench,” said Reeves. “I am grateful that Gray will continue leading and serving the people of Mississippi as circuit court judge for the 3rd Circuit Court District.”
Tollison replaces Judge Andrew Howorth who retired June 30.
Judge John Gregory, also in the 3rd Circuit Court District, also retired June 30 but Gov. Reeves had not named a replacement for him Wednesday.
“I’m honored to be appointed by Governor Reeves to the 3rd Circuit Court District. I promise to work tirelessly to ensure justice is upheld and protected for the people of Mississippi,” Tollison said. “I am excited for this opportunity to use my experience and knowledge both in the legal field and in the Legislature to help make a difference for the people in my District.”
The 3rd Circuit Court District covers Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Lafayette, Marshall, Tippah, and Union Counties.
Grady Franklin “Gray” Tollison began his career as Staff Assistant to Senator John C. Stennis from 1986-1988. Tollison later became a Law Clerk for Justice Armis E. Hawkins in the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1991. Joining his family’s law firm in 1992, he has extensive trial experience in civil and criminal matters in Mississippi state and federal courts.
Elected to the Mississippi State Senate for six terms, Tollison served the people of Senate District 9 from 1996 to 2019. He held a variety of roles in the Senate, from Chairman of the Constitution Committee, to Chairman of the Judiciary Division B Committee, to President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
Tollison has received numerous legislative recognitions and awards over the years for his ongoing commitment to Mississippi, including 2005 Most Distinguished Legislator for Juvenile Justice Causes, 2007 Legislative Leadership Award from the Mississippi State Troopers Association, and 2019 National Association of State Boards of Education Policy Leader of the Year.
Tollison is a graduate of Rhodes College with a Bachelor’s, as well as a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi Law School.
Judge Howorth started the Third District Drug Court in 2007 and two years ago was named to the Mississippi Drug Court advisory committee. Following the retirement of Circuit Judge Kenneth Coleman in December 2001, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove appointed then 46-year-old Howorth, who began hearing cases in January 2002. He was elected to a full four-year term in 2003. He ran unopposed through 2018.
Judge Gregory had served on the circuit bench since 2011. He also served as an assistant district attorney for the 3rd Circuit District for nine years. Prior to that he was elected for six terms as Chickasaw County’s prosecuting attorney and served 23 years.
Newly-appointed judge Tollison and Gregory’s still-to-be-named replacement will fill out the unexpired portion of the term which runs through December 2022.circuit court, judge, Union County, vacancy