Carleton to speak at historical society

Published 12:24 am Monday, March 21, 2011

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, at the Eola Hotel, Judge Virginia Carleton is presenting a program on the history of the Mississippi Judicial System. This event is offered free to the public and is sponsored by the Natchez Historical Society. The social hour is from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Carleton is a very qualified speaker on the subject of history of the Mississippi judicial system as she presently serves as judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

She received her B.B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi in 1986. She joined the U.S. Army in 1990 where she served on active duty in the Judge Advocate General Corps Office until 1998. She later served with JAG in the Army reserve.

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In 2007 she joined the Mississippi National Guard where she serves as a Judge Advocate General officer, and she is a certified military judge. As a civilian she also has been a public defender, a Mississippi state legislator and an assistant district attorney. She is married to Scott Carleton and they have three children.

Carleton’s talk on the history of the Mississippi’s judicial system should be of keen interest to local history buffs interested in the early history of Mississippi Territory because Natchez can rightfully call itself the birthplace of the Mississippi Judicial System, and because of the arraignment hearing of Aaron Burr in nearby Washington in 1807.

Natchez was the first territorial capital when the Mississippi Territory was created in 1798. Natchez, by virtue of being the first territorial capital, was where the first courts for the territory were held and presided over by the first judges and thus Natchez was the birthplace of the Mississippi judicial system.

When W.C.C. Claiborne arrived in Natchez as the new territorial governor in late 1801, he transferred the capital and the territorial court to nearby Washington.

It was because of that move that the most famous trial in the territorial history, that being the arraignment hearing of the former vice president of the United States Aaron Burr for treason, was in Washington in early February 1807.

Though the grand jury found a lack evidence to hold Burr, he was still held to his bond, but because his life was in danger from a fellow conspirator Burr fled while under bond.

He was later captured as a fugitive from his bond and tried for treason in Richmond, Va., where he was found innocent of all charges.

For anyone interested in Mississippi history or the Mississippi judicial systems they are encouraged to attend this event that is sponsored by the Natchez Historical Society.

The general public is also invited to watch for future talks on Mississippi history provided by the Natchez Historical Society.

H. Clark Burkett is the secretary of the Natchez Historical Society.