Justice James W. Kitchens born in1943 and a lifelong resident of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, Jim Kitchens earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1964, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1967.
Licensed to practice law in Mississippi and in the District of Columbia, he was admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, as well as the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
He was elected district attorney for the Mississippi counties of Copiah, Lincoln, Pike and Walthall in 1971, 1975 and 1979. He served for nine years before returning to the private practice of law until 2008, when he was elected to an eight year term on the Mississippi Supreme Court (Central District, Place 3), commencing in January of 2009. In 2016, he was elected to a second eight-year term.
Before joining the court in 2008, Kitchens worked primarily as a civil and criminal trial lawyer.
James Kitchens . Original painting 2019. Collection of the artist.
In his own words:
I never stopped doing criminal work said Justice Kitchens.. A lot of my contemporaries wanted to get away from criminal work because (they) couldn't make much money out of it, but I enjoyed it. Criminal law has always been my favorite thing to do on either side of the bench.