Leech appointed municipal city judge

By MARLAN JONES,

On Wednesday April 18, the Mendenhall Mayor and Board of Aldermen assembled for a special called meeting to accept the resignation of the city’s Municipal Court Judge Chris Purdum.

Purdum served as Mendenhall’s municipal court judge for five years beginning in March of 2013. He resigned to pursue the office of District 77 Representative, leaving a vacancy.

Municipal Court Judge is an appointed position. Mayor Todd Booth explained that the city reached out to several local attorneys to gauge their interest in the position. He said the city received three very qualified applicants and began the interviewing process. Booth said that  the position of judge requires wisdom, and that wisdom is gained through experience.

Wesla Sullivan Leech was among the applicants. Booth said she “rose to the top in terms of experience.” Leech emerged as the front runner for the municipal court judge appointment, and was employed by the Board of Aldermen on April 18.

Booth said, “I am thankful that she applied and we were able to get someone with her qualifications.” Leech was the most experienced of the applicants, he said, which was an important factor to him during the hiring process. He pointed out that Leech has actively served as an attorney for over 30 years.

“I feel like we are blessed to get somebody with such experience. She has a lifetime of being in law, and it will be great for the city and she will represent us well,” said Booth. He stated that the city will be relying on her experience to help keep the judicial system on the right track.

Leech has experience as a judge and has held many different positions throughout her 30 years of practicing law. She serves in youth court for Jefferson Davis County, and is currently the Simpson County School Board attorney.

When asked her motivation for taking the position Leech said, “I’m in Simpson County. God has put me here and I believe you do your best wherever you are placed.”

She expressed a deep love for Simpson County and Mendenhall and counts serving in this position as a way of giving back. Leech said, “It’s an honor and privilege to serve as municipal judge for the City of Mendenhall. I look forward to the opportunity, and appreciate the Mayor and Board of Aldermen for giving me the opportunity on behalf on the citizens.”

Booth said, “We want to welcome her to the city and hopefully we’ll have many good years of service.”

Leech conducted her first initial appearance for Mendenhall on Monday April 23, for two male subjects facing felony charges.