Attorney Mike Watts appointed new Oxford Municipal Court judge

Published 12:42 pm Friday, February 9, 2024

The city of Oxford has a new Municipal Court Judge.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen met for a special called meeting Thursday and appointed attorney Mike Watts as the new municipal court judge.

“Judge Mike Watts is a seasoned practitioner of the law. His more than 40 years of law practice at Holcomb Law Group combined with his experience in law enforcement will benefit him in this new position,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill.

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The late Judge Hal Neilson died on Jan. 7 leaving the bench open. Retired Judge Andy Howorth has served as interim judge.

“Judge Hal Neilson and Court Clerk Nickie Denley have established a court department that runs as well as any in the state,” Tannehill said. “We are so proud of their work and know that Judge Watts will continue to guide us in a positive direction.  We are so grateful to Judge Andy Howorth for serving in the interim.”

His primary areas of practice at the Holcomb Law Group are criminal defense, complex civil litigation, and insurance defense. He is a 1984 honor graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Before attending law school, he served his community for six years as a police officer and criminal investigator in Cleveland.

“I knew Judge Neilson and I’m really sorry he passed away and the judgeship came open,” Watts told the Oxford Eagle Friday. “But I applied because I really like working in the public sector. I just thought it would be an opportunity to do something I’d really like to do and help the city and the community in a field I’m very interested in.”

Watts said he will take the bench for the first time on Feb. 21. He went over to City Hall on Friday to meet the court staff.

“It seems to be a very organized and functional court with a great staff,” he said. “I was very impressed by all of them and the job they have done organizing things.”