Oral arg. – Miss.S.Ct. – June 13, 2017

At 1:30 the Court will hear the case of the Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission v. Judge Gay Polk-Payton

Another justice court judge case.  Polk-Payton sits in Forrest County.

According to the MJP brief,

 The crux of the behavior on which the Formal Complaint was filed is promotion of
personal business ventures and behavior which is inappropriate for a member of the judiciary.  Specifically, Respondent promoted her services as a motivational speaker, a musical performer, and an author while capitalizing on her position as a judge, and failed to maintain appropriate professionalism as a judge in her posts.
Respondent maintained four Facebook pages, a Youtube account, a Twitter account, and an instagram account. Respondent’s username on Instagram and Twitter was “JudgeCutie”. ( CP. 98-99). While posting on these numerous sites, Respondent posed half-robed in promotional materials, published posts about sitting on the bench with unclean hair after going to the gym, and posted a photograph wearing her robe which she titled #myuniform, to cite a few examples. (CP. 106).

Respondent has also written inflammatory and controversial political posts. On February 26, 2014, Respondent posted “I became a judge so that I could do my part restore (sic) some integrity to the criminal justice system. I work hard so that by ALWAYS following the law … whether I agree with the law or not. We will never have a fair system of justice until private citizens stand up and honor their duty by serving as jurors for their fellow citizens AND following the law once they are sworn in as part of a petit jury. In Florida, the guilty go free but in Mississippi, those that are not guilty are convicted. Jurors and judges are the gatekeepers to the Constitution. If you can’t trust us to follow the law, there can be no justice and where there is no justice, there will be no peace. #wholeftthegateopen” (CP. I 06). Such posts are inappropriate for a member of the judiciary.

Polk-Payton argues that she is entitled to free speech.

The Commission is asking that she receive a public reprimand.

The ACLU and the Center for Competitive Politics have filed amicus briefs in support of Judge Polk-Payton

MJP brief

Polk Payton brief

ACLU brief

Center for Competitive Politics Brief

Watch the argument here

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