James challenges Appeals Court loss, cites partisan politics

Judge Ceola James (Photo: State of Mississippi Judiciary)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Ceola James is contesting her loss in the Nov. 8 election.

James says her opponent violated state laws that require nonpartisan judicial races.

James filed a lawsuit Monday against Latrice Westbrooks, who won the election; and Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, who campaigned for Westbrooks.

The lawsuit says Westbrooks and Thompson “willfully and intentionally” aligned themselves politically by appearing together at events and by distributing a sample ballot recommending that people support Thompson in the U.S. House race and Westbrooks in the judicial race.

Although Mississippi judicial candidates run without party labels, it is common for politicians from both parties to get involved. For example, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant endorsed Jack Wilson, who won a runoff Tuesday for another seat on the Court of Appeals.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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