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Released February 26, 2004

SEN. COCHRAN, JUDGE PICKERING GUESTS OF HONOR AT
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AWARDS BANQUET

HATTIESBURG -- Sen. Thad Cochran and Judge Charles Pickering will be the guests of honor at The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Criminal Justice awards banquet April 3. The 33rd annual event starts at 7 p.m. at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center.

Pickering, a former District Court judge recently appointed by Pres. George W. Bush to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, will receive the Charles Marx Man of the Year award. Cochran will give the keynote address.

"We are very fortunate to have two guests present as prestigious as Sen. Cochran and Judge Pickering," said Dr. Donald Cabana, professor of criminal justice.

Cabana said that in the past, the department's banquet has featured governors and Supreme Court judges, "so we always try to get somebody who is a significant person on the political landscape."

"With Sen. Cochran, you've got his Senate experience, his seniority and influence in Congress. We're very excited to have him coming to our banquet," he said.

A native of Laurel who practiced law there for 29 years, Pickering became a federal judge in the Southern District of Mississippi in1990.

Pickering was chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party in the 1970s, and he served two terms in the Mississippi State Senate. He has also served as president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention and is a member of the board of directors of the Federal Judges Association.

Pickering earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law, graduating with the highest grades in his class.

Cabana said Pickering embodies everything for which the banquet's Man of the Year award stands. "Judge Pickering has had a long and distinguished career in the state Legislature, as a prosecutor, as a district attorney, as a jurist. He has made significant contributions to the criminal justice system both on the bench and in the Legislature."

"Every year we try to pick someone who has made great contributions over a long period of time, and no one is more deserving of that than Judge Charles Pickering," he said.

Southern Miss criminal justice students will be recognized for their scholastic endeavors, and several awards will also be given to criminal justice practitioners. "The Distinguished Service awards go to people who have made significant contributions to the criminal justice system over the years as practitioners," Cabana said.

Tickets are $20 for students and $25 for nonstudents. They can be purchased through the Criminal Justice Department until Friday, April 2. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (601) 266-4509.

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March 4, 2004 1:05 PM

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