By Othor Cain,




I had to check my pulse and do a double take to make sure I was sitting in a court room and not a church service last week when the investiture ceremony was held for Judge David Neil McCarty in the Court of Appeals Courtroom at the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson.

Because of press obligations here at The Mississippi Link on Wednesdays, I hardly ever commit to “out of office events.” However, I was determined to attend this event because of who McCarty is.

McCarty, of Jackson, was elected November 2018 to the Court of Appeals from District 4, which covers 13 southwest and south central counties and parts of Hinds and Jones counties. He took office Jan. 7.

Prior to becoming an elected judge, he was a solo practitioner who focused on appeals and complex litigation. He has handled numerous appeals before the Court of Appeals of Mississippi, the Mississippi Supreme Court, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. McCarty helped co-found the Appellate Practice Section of the Mississippi Bar, and from 2014 to 2015 was chair of the Section. 

In his early career, he served as a law clerk to Justice Graves. He also served as a law clerk for former Presiding Justice Oliver E. Diaz Jr. He was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 2004.

He is an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law, having taught courses in trial practice, evidence, pretrial practice, appellate advocacy and legal writing since 2005. He was honored as the Adjunct Professor of the Year for 2016-17.

McCarty is the author of the Evidence chapter of the Encyclopedia of Mississippi Law, and is a contributing author to the treatise Mississippi Civil Procedure. He regularly presents continuing legal education topics on appellate advocacy and ethics.

He earned his J.D. from Mississippi College School of Law in 2004, graduating cum laude. He was Articles editor on the Law Review and Competition chair of the Moot Court. He received a B.A. in political science from Mississippi State University.

But to know McCarty is to love him. He showed up one day at our office to tell us about himself and why he was running. He had me at hello. His breadth of knowledge, passion for service, treatment of the underpriveledged and understanding of the law is second to no one. His investiture ceremony reflected that.

Judge James E. Graves Jr. of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals administered the ceremonial oath to McCarty. McCarty’s first experience in appellate work was as a law clerk for then-Justice Graves on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Guest speakers included U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves; Dean Patricia Bennett, president of the Mississippi Bar and dean of Mississippi College School of Law; and William B. Bardwell, senior staff attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

See photos on page 16.

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