Court of Appeals to convene at Mississippi University for Women

February 9, 2024

The Mississippi Court of Appeals will convene in Cochran Hall on the campus of Mississippi University for Women in Columbus on Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. to hear oral arguments in an appeal.

The Court of Appeals’ Court on the Road program schedules oral arguments on college campuses and occasionally at other locations as a teaching tool to give students and the public opportunities to watch proceedings in cases on appeal. Court on the Road offers a unique learning experience for students with an interest in law, government, journalism and a variety of other fields. The public may attend to gain a better understanding of appellate court proceedings. Judges will answer questions from students after the oral arguments, but will not talk about the case heard on appeal.

Presiding Judge Jack Wilson of Madison said, “Court on the Road provides a great opportunity for college students, especially those considering a career in law, to learn more about our court system and our appellate courts. We look forward to meeting with students and faculty, including especially students and faculty in MUW's Department of Legal Studies, and answering their questions following the argument.”

Karen Clay, University Counsel, said, “It is an honor to welcome the Court back to campus for this unique learning opportunity and to expose our students to this part of the judicial process.”

Wesley Garrett, Chair and Professor of Legal Studies, said, “We are grateful to the Court of Appeals for providing this opportunity for our students to be engaged with oral arguments and provide them with a deeper understanding of the appellate system."

MUW’s Department of Legal Studies offers a program that prepares students to work in the legal profession as paralegals. With the legal studies foundation, many students continue their studies in law school. MUW's legal studies program is one of two in the state accredited by the American Bar Association to train paralegals and other legal professionals.

A three-judge panel will hear oral arguments. The proceeding is expected to last approximately an hour, with lawyers on each side having 30 minutes to present their arguments. Spectators should be seated in the courtroom 15 minutes before the proceeding.

The case to be heard on appeal is Roderick Johnson v. State of Mississippi, cause number 2022-KA-0665-COA. The case is an appeal of a criminal conviction of first-degree murder in the May 15, 2015, shooting death of James “Fluffy” White in Clay County. A Clay County jury convicted Johnson on April 8, 2022, after a five-day trial. Circuit Judge James T. Kitchens Jr. sentenced Johnson to life in prison.

Court documents filed in the appeal are available to be viewed on the Mississippi Judiciary website. Here is a link to the case docket:

The appellant’s brief filed on behalf of Roderick Johnson is at this link:

The appellee’s brief filed by the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the State of Mississippi is at this link:

Any media organization which may wish to photograph or videotape the oral arguments must file a Camera Coverage Notice. Camera Coverage Notices should be directed to Clerk of the Courts Jeremy Whitmire, e-mail, fax 601-359-2407; and to Assistant Court Administrator Camille Henick Evans, e-mail, fax 601-576-4708. The Camera Coverage Notice form is at this link:

Media photographers and videographers must be familiar with and follow the Rules for Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Judicial Proceedings. The camera coverage rules are available at

The oral arguments will not be broadcast via the court’s Internet website, since the Court of Appeals is convening in special session away from its camera-equipped courtroom.