Studdard takes oath, Jan. 14 first court date

With his wife Stephanie holding the Bible, Judge Joe Studdard is sworn in Wednesday by Clay County Chancery Court Clerk Amy Berry.
DTL Staff
Staff Writer

Wearing the robe his father wore as a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, Joe Studdard was sworn in Wednesday as one of three new Chancery Court judges in the 14th District.

Studdard, a Columbus attorney before winning the seat vacated by the retirement of Judge Jim Davidson, thanked a group of about two dozen friends and supporters who attended the Clay County ceremony, which came after he’d taken the oath in Lowndes County as well.

His post covers parts of Clay and Lowndes counties.

His first actual court day is Jan. 14 in Lowndes County, although he and the two other new judges in the district — Paula Drungole-Ellis and Rodney Faver — have been meeting with each other and chancery court clerks in the district, which also covers Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Chickasaw and Webster counties.

Although the judges are elected to particular posts, they hear cases in all six counties.

Studdard’s long-time legal assistant, Cindy Strickland, will serve as his court administrator.

“We’re looking forward to getting started,” Studdard said after taking the oath from Clay County Chancery Clerk Amy Berry. “We’ve been trying to get dockets settled, I’m trying to close out my law practice, we’re going over dockets, discussing some new ideas. We’re lucky to be coming in with six veteran chancery clerks who an offer advice and insight.”