Judge Toni Terrett selected for Mississippi Bar’s 2024 Distinguished Service Award

Published 10:09 am Thursday, March 14, 2024

Judge Toni Terrett of Vicksburg, one of two circuit court judges for Mississippi’s 9th Judicial District serving Issaquena, Sharkey, and Warren counties, has been selected to receive the Mississippi Bar Association’s Distinguished Service Award for 2024, which will be formally presented at the organization’s annual meeting July 10-12 in Biloxi.

Terrett was nominated by her colleagues and chosen by the Board of Bar Commissioners as this year’s recipient of the annual award.

The Mississippi Bar is composed of nearly 9,000 active members who are licensed to practice law in Mississippi.

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Terrett is in her second term as a circuit court judge, having been first elected in 2018.

She is also a presiding judge for the 9th District Intervention Court, which provides long-term treatment and attention for drug and alcohol addiction or mental illness.

Terrett earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Tougaloo College, attended Purdue University and earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis.

She earned a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law. Terrett served more than nine years as a community court judge and senior municipal court judge for the City of Vicksburg.

In that role, she oversaw the implementation of the house-arrest program and the use of a collection agency for past-due fines and supervised the Court Services and Community Services departments.

Terrett developed the Community Impact Panel, which provides mentoring to first-time nonviolent offenders by community leaders.

While at the Vicksburg Municipal Court, she served as the project director for the Vicksburg Domestic Violence Victims’ Empowerment Program.

As director, she helped to expand the program to provide more services to victims while holding defendants accountable and educating the community.

Before serving as a judge, Terrett worked as a solo practitioner as a drug court public defender, as a law clerk to 9th District Chancellor Vicki Barnes, and as a contract attorney for the Mississippi Center for Legal Services. She taught mass communications law and social media at Alcorn State University.

Active in The Mississippi Bar, Terrett chairs the Access to Justice Committee and has been instrumental in implementing a summer clerkship program that places law students in rural areas of Mississippi. She is a member of the Bar’s Women in the Profession Section. As part of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, she has been named a Fellow for that organization.

Terrett is a member of the American Bar Association, the Magnolia Bar Association, and the National Association of Women Judges. Locally, she is a part of the Warren County Bar Association. Terrett belongs to the Vicksburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and chairs the Physical and Mental Health Committee.

She is a board member for both the Cary Christian Center and NAMI-Mississippi and a past president of Mountain of Faith Ministries.

Terrett attends Mt. Alban Baptist Church, where she is the musician for the Women of Faith Choir. She is a licensed Zumba instructor and leads classes in her free time.

She has five children, Gabrielle, Aaron, Samuel, Elysse, and Ellis and one grandson, Eddie.