- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) - Family members accuse a Leflore county justice court judge of forging signatures on land records related to his dead father’s estate.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports (https://bit.ly/1mATvSV) that his mother and sister made the claims against Leflore County Justice Court Judge James K. Littleton III in a Bolivar County lawsuit. The questions are influencing Littleton’s race for a circuit court judgeship.

In court filings and two complaints filed with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, Bonnie Littleton and Melaney Littleton Phillips accuse the judge of signing their names without their permission on land records. The documents include questioned deeds in which the women renounced claims to a Greenwood house and 40 acres of Bolivar County farmland near Mound Bayou.

The secretary of state suspended and then revoked the notary commission of a secretary at James Littleton’s law office after she acknowledged that she notarized documents without seeing the women sign them.

The family dispute has also become an issue in the current campaign for the circuit court seat that is being left vacant by the retirement of Judge Betty Sanders. Mr. Littleton, who denies any forgery occurred, says his relatives have gone public with their allegations in an intentional effort to undermine his candidacy.

James A. Littleton Jr. died without a will in March 2010.

The following December, James K. Littleton III submitted two deeds - purportedly signed by his mother and sister - in which they surrendered claims to the farmland and Greenwood home. On Feb. 17, 2011, Littleton filed a motion to close the estate, stating he had assumed his father’s debts.

In September 2013, Littleton’s sister and mother sued, disputing claims that the father died in debt.

Their attorney, Rob Tyner of Clarksdale, wrote that both the sister and mother “unequivocably state that the signatures which appear on the waivers are not theirs and maintain that they did not sign a waiver on February 4, 2011 or at any other time, nor have they ever been furnished a waiver to sign.”

The suit also questioned the lack of an official accounting of the estate, claiming Littleton understated the assets his father had when he died.

Littleton disputes those allegations. He contends he used his own money to pay off loans and keep the farm operating.

Littleton’s sister and mother dispute his version of events. His mother said she paid off farm loans after her husband’s death.


Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, https://www.gwcommonwealth.com

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