David Bishop
David Bishop
A new special judge to handle the nearly two-year-old District 4 supervisory election challenge was appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court on Tuesday after Judge Henry Lackey recused himself.

The challenge for District 4 Supervisor between Karl Banks and David Bishop will be handled by retired Circuit Judge Richard McKenzie of Hattiesburg, according to an order filed in Madison County Circuit Court.

Lackey issued an order of recusal last Thursday in the case, saying in his motion “that unforeseen and undesired events and circumstances have arisen making it unduly burdensome and impractical for Judge Henry L. Lackey to continue to sit on this cause under prevailing circumstances.”

The order was dated Sept. 18 but not filed until Sept. 21.

On May 31, Banks, a Democrat, filed a motion asking Lackey to recuse himself from the case, citing several instances over the past few years where Lackey attended Republican events.

Lackey denied the motion to recuse himself and the matter made it all the way to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which sided with Lackey.

Banks, who served 32 years as supervisor, lost to Bishop in the Nov. 3, 2015, general election by two votes. He has maintained a position that some legal ballots were not counted by the Election Commission that would have made him the winner.

In February, Lackey ordered a jury trial to be held immediately. A motions hearing scheduled for Sept. 1 was cancelled.

Banks, on Monday, said he was disappointed and frustrated with Lackey’s recusal as another setback in the case.

“I don’t know why he did it,” he said. “I feel that we’ve proven our case and I think personally I feel like the Republican in him has come out and he just didn’t want to have to rule in a manner in which he didn’t want to.”

Banks said the entire ordeal has taken too long and he wants to be heard in court.

“Everything we said from day one has proven to be true,” he said. “But, I’ve been held out of office for two years now. I hope we can get a fair-minded judge, one that will rule according to the law.”

He said he hoped to have the matter heard before the end of the year.

“I’ve been hoping for a quick resolve ever since it started,” he said.

Bishop was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.

Banks contends that 31 votes were counted but not included in the total vote tally. Bishop contends all votes were counted and included in the final vote.