Judge Will Retire

A coast chancery court judge is expected to end his full-time responsibilities on the bench in the midst of a state investigation involving judicial travel expenses. Harrison County Senior Chancellor J.N. Randall will hear only cases assigned to him by the state Supreme Court beginning Jan. 1, according to a statement.

Randall said changing his judicial status to part time will allow him to spend more time with his family while serving as special chancellor. Randall and two other Chancery Court judges in District 8, made up of Hancock, Harrison and Stone counties, are being investigated by the state auditor and attorney general. In October, it was reported that investigators had inspected travel and expense records for Randall and Chancery Judges Tom Teel and Wes Teel, who are brothers. The records reportedly showed the judges' mileage claims did not correspond with their court schedules.

With Randall's retirement, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove may have two replacements to fill on the court. Tom Teel's lawyer, Joe Sam Owen, said last week Tom Teel ``probably is going to resign'' from his position. Randall was appointed to the court in December 1991 to fill a vacancy created by the death of Judge J.S. ``Johnny'' Morris. Randall won the seat in a special election the following year, then was re-elected in 1994 and in 1998.