‘Big shoes to fill,’ New DA appointed by Mississippi governor

HERNANDO, Miss. (WMC) – Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was in Hernando Friday afternoon to announce his selection to lead the state’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff, and the DA’s Office for the 17th Circuit Court District.

Reeves selected Lynn Posey to be executive director of MDWFP and Jim Beckett to lead Public Utilities, but the most notable selection for that particular area is the DA selection, as the 17th District consists of DeSoto, Tate, Panola, Tallahatchie, and Yalobusha counties.

The office was led by John Champion for over twenty years.

Champion passed earlier this month, due to illness.

Reeves appointed Champion’s Asst. DA Robert “Bob” Morris III to lead the office.

“Bob’s experience over the last eight years… both in the private sector practicing law, as well as his 8 years of prosecutorial experience really convinced me that he was the right person for the job,” said Reeves.

Reeves said keeping the appointment internal was part of the reason for Morris’s appointment.

Next year, DeSoto County will become its own circuit court district, and having someone familiar with the lay of the land will be vital to the early success of a new district.

The remaining counties of the 17th district will remain together, and a special election is being held in November to elect the new DA

Currently, Jay Hale, another Asst. DA who works with Morris, is running unopposed for that position.

Morris was present Friday to accept Reeves’ appointment.

He said he expected his predecessor, Champion, to run for the position “until he retired, and then the dust would settle and we’d figure it out.”

Continuing the legacy of Champion’s many years of service is what Morris hopes to do.

“I don’t know that I will fill his shoes, but I do hope to walk in his footsteps,” Morris said. “We are going to prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law so that you can enjoy your time in Hernando, or Olive Branch, or Tate County, or Panola County; and I promise you that I will work hand-in-hand both with law enforcement and the Governor’s Office to make sure this community stays safe.”

Morris will finish the remainder of Champion’s term but is running for reelection.

He will be on the ballot in November of 2023.

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