Native Jacksonian Matt Allen is a candidate for Hinds County Circuit Court Judge, Subdistrict 1. This is the seat that has been held by Judge Jeff Weill, who is not seeking reelection to that position.
Born in Jackson and raised in the Heatherwood neighborhood, for the past 13 years, Allen has been a lawyer and partner at the Brunini Law Firm, one of Mississippi’s oldest law firms. The year prior to that, he was a law clerk to the Honorable William H. Barbour Jr., United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi.
During Allen’s time at Brunini he has garnered the highest peer review ratings that are given to lawyers, and he has been recognized by Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America for legal excellence in multiple practice areas. Additionally, for over a year, while working at Brunini, he has been studying towards a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi. Allen seeks to apply his knowledge in this area of criminal justice and criminal law to address the problems facing Hinds County’s criminal justice system. Additionally, he has also been trained at a nationally recognized trial academy.
Allen is active in the community, serving on the boards of directors of entities such as Mississippi Opera, Jackson Rotary Club, New Stage Theatre, the former I.S. Sanders YMCA (Farish Street), Capital Club and Mississippi State University Central Mississippi Alumni Association.
He believes that an overarching urgent problem in Hinds County is the backlog of cases on both the criminal and civil docket. Judges control the docket and scheduling of cases. To address the backlog problem, Allen is focused on setting criminal and civil cases for trial and holding the lawyers to it.
“Cases, particularly criminal cases, linger far too long in Hinds County,” he said.
“Regardless of whether one views criminal matters from more of a law and order perspective or more of a civil liberties perspective, having criminal cases linger for years on end is incredibly problematic,” he said. “Justice delayed is justice denied. The delay not only affects victims and the accused, but it affects everyone from the police who patrol the streets and feel as though their efforts are in vain, to correctional facilities, whose resources are stretched while housing the many accused awaiting trial, and to society as a whole that pays for our criminal justice system and does not see a fair, timely or efficient process.”
Allen wants to improve the drug court “so we can ultimately reduce the impact that addiction has on our criminal justice system and our society in general.
“If we can help those non-violent offenders who suffer from addiction get out of the criminal justice system, into recovery and back into mainstream society, we all win. A comprehensive, successful drug court system will have a lasting impact on the participants and, more importantly, society as a whole,” he said.
He and his family are members of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral and live in the Belhaven neighborhood. He is married to Megan West Allen, an evening news anchor for WAPT-News. They have two children, a daughter, Hartley, and son, Thatcher.
Allen is an Eagle Scout, and a graduate of Mississippi State University where he was student body president and a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Millsaps College and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas School of Law. To learn more about him visit www.mattallenforjudge.com or www.facebook.com/mattallenforjudge/.