George Clarence Carlson, Jr. of Batesville was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove on Oct. 29, 2001, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Justice Michael P. Mills. Justice Carlson took office Nov. 1, 2001, and served the remainder of the unexpired term. On Nov. 2, 2004, Justice Carlson was elected to serve an eight-year term. On Jan. 5, 2009, Justice Carlson became a Presiding Justice for the Court. On Dec. 31, 2012, Presiding Justice Carlson retired from the Court.
From June 1972, through Dec. 31, 1982, Justice Carlson was in the private practice of law. In November 1982, he was elected Circuit Judge for the Seventeenth Judicial District of Mississippi, comprised of DeSoto, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Yalobusha counties, and took office on Jan. 1, 1983. He was reelected as Circuit Judge without opposition in 1989, 1990, 1994, and 1998.
Justice Carlson served as a member on the Governor’s Criminal Justice Task Force in 1991, and as a member of the Commission on the Courts in the 21st Century, 1992-1993. He served as a member of the Professionalism Committee of the Mississippi Bar, 1998-1999, and as a member of the Law School Professionalism Program Task Force, 1998-1999. He is a member of the American Judges Association, the Mississippi Bar, and the Lamar Order, University of Mississippi School of Law. Justice Carlson is a member and past president of the Panola County Bar Association, and a member and past president of the William C. Keady American Inns of Court. Since 1995, he has been a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation. Justice Carlson served as vice-chair of the Mississippi Circuit Judges Conference in 1998-1999, and chair of the Conference in 1999-2000. Upon arriving at the Supreme Court, Justice Carlson was appointed as a member of the Court’s Rules Committee. On Jan. 5, 2009, Justice Carlson became the Chair of the Court’s newly created Rules Committee on Practice and Procedure. Justice Carlson also served as Chair of the Mississippi Model Jury Instructions Commission, which was charged with conducting a comprehensive examination of jury instructions being used in state courts and recommending to the Supreme Court revised and simplified civil and criminal jury instructions. The Commission submitted its report and model jury instructions to the Supreme Court on October 24, 2012.
Justice Carlson was honored twice as the recipient of the Chief Justice Award, in 2003 and again in 2012. He was the recipient of Mississippi State University’s Distinguished Jurist Award for 2012. He is a 1964 graduate of South Panola High School in Batesville; a 1969 graduate of Mississippi State University (Bachelor of Science Degree); and a 1972 graduate of the University of Mississippi (Law Degree). Justice Carlson also graduated from the National Judicial College, University of Nevada, Reno, in October 1982.