- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 31, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Gov. Phil Bryant has appointed a new circuit judge to serve in four counties in east central Mississippi.

Brian K. Burns will succeed Judge Christopher A. Collins, who is retiring after 21 years on the bench. Burns’ appointment takes effect Thursday, and he will serve until the end of 2020 in Leake, Neshoba, Newton and Scott counties.

The winner of a nonpartisan special election in November will serve the rest of the term, which runs through 2022.

Burns, 39, earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Mississippi State University. He also earned a master’s degree by studying invasive species. He earned his law degree in 2011 from Mississippi College, and he has worked as an assistant district attorney in the counties for which he will be a judge.

“Brian’s experience in the district attorney’s office will serve the people of the Eighth District well,” Bryant said in a news release Monday announcing the judicial appointment.

The other circuit judge in the four counties is Mark Duncan.

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