Mississippi Comm'n on Jud. Perf. v. CowartAnnotate this Case
The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance filed a formal complaint against Nell Y. Cowart, justice court judge for the Southeast District, Pearl River County, Mississippi, alleging judicial misconduct. After conducting an independent inquiry of the record and giving careful consideration to the findings of fact and recommendation of the Commission, the Supreme Court adopted the agreed-upon sanctions. Judge Cowart admitted she made a phone call in an attempt to help release a criminal defendant from jail. Judge Cowart stated that the defendant in question was not a criminal, and "would not spend another night in jail." While an officer was testifying concerning the allegations against the defendant, Judge Cowart became emotional and tearful. After Judge Cowart set bond at $5,000, the defendant was removed from the courtroom, and Judge Cowart apologized to the officers for her emotional display of sympathy toward the defendant. On the basis of these actions the Commission filed a formal complaint against Judge Cowart.