Scott Colom


Nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi

  • Court District Court
  • Date Nominated

On October 14, 2022, President Joe Biden nominated Scott Colom to serve as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi to the seat vacated by Judge Michael Mills. A native of Mississippi, Mr. Colom has dedicated his life to justice in his home state with roles at the Mississippi Center for Justice, as a justice court judge in Lowndes County and the City of Aberdeen, as a private plaintiff’s-side attorney, and now as the District Attorney of Mississippi’s 16th District. He is also a historic figure, serving as both the first Black justice court judge of Lowndes County and the first Black city prosecutor of his hometown of Columbus.


A lifelong resident of Mississippi, Scott Colom was born in Columbus, Mississippi in 1982. He graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi in 2005. Between college and law school, Mr. Colom spent a year serving as a volunteer teacher with World Teach in Guyana. In 2009, he graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin School of Law, where he was repeatedly on the Dean’s List and received the State Bar/Law School Academic Achievement Award for highest grade in Constitutional Law I and Political Law – Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections.

Legal Experience

After law school, Mr. Colom returned home to Mississippi as a Skadden Fellow and spent two years as a staff lawyer at the Mississippi Center for Justice. In this role, he represented indigent clients in simple civil matters and advocated for consumer protection laws and reforms to predatory lending. At the conclusion of his fellowship, he joined the Colom Law Firm, LLC, a plaintiffs’ firm run by his father. While at Colom Law Firm, Mr. Colom represented clients in litigation against individuals, businesses, and government agencies until 2016.

In January 2011, Mr. Colom was appointed as a Lowndes County Interim Justice Court Judge by the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors. At age 28, he was the youngest and first Black justice court judge in the county’s history. In this position, which he held until January 2012, he presided over misdemeanor charges brought by private citizens and law enforcement as well as small claims civil cases. From June 2012 to 2013, Mr. Colom served as Municipal Judge for the City of Aberdeen, where he again presided over misdemeanor charges brought by private citizens and law enforcement, including traffic violations, simple assault, and domestic violence. As a result, there are no citations, docket numbers, or written opinions for his cases from these periods.

Mr. Colom was appointed city prosecutor for his hometown of Columbus, Mississippi by the city council in 2013. He made history in this role as the first Black city prosecutor for Columbus. While serving in this part-time position, he continued working at the Colom Law Firm, LLC. As a municipal prosecutor, he primarily prosecuted misdemeanors, such as traffic violations, drug charges, and simple assaults.

In November 2015, Mr. Colom was elected District Attorney for the 16th Circuit District after beating an incumbent who had held the position for 30 years. He was reelected in 2019 and currently serves in this position. In this role, he manages a $100,000 annual budget, supervises a staff of 11, including 5 attorneys, routinely works with law enforcement, and represents the State of Mississippi in the prosecution of felony crimes.

As District Attorney, Mr. Colom has pursued procedures and policies that avoid incarceration for non-violent offenses. His office was the first in Mississippi to offer peer-to-peer counseling for survivors of gun violence and Mr. Colom was the first District Attorney to offer restorative justice for victims, allowing victims the option to confront the person who harmed them in the presence of a trained facilitator. Mr. Colom has also expanded pretrial diversion options for non-violent offenders to avoid recidivism, such as sending defendants to inpatient or outpatient rehab, job placement, helping them obtain a driver’s licenses, and offering GED programs. In 2016, he supported the release of Steven Jessie Harris to a mental health facility after the defendant spent 11 years behind bars without a trial, a move that the circuit court had suggested years prior. Mr. Colom also dropped charges against a mother accused of murdering her child after toxicology reports failed to support the allegations. He also supported the release against a man who spent 23 years on death row based on debunked evidence.  As District Attorney, he has prosecuted 19 jury trials, obtaining guilty verdicts in all but one of them.

The following cases are representative of Mr. Colom’s legal career:

Felony Cases

In State v. Chisholm, 2021-0047-CRH, Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, Mr. Colom led the prosecution in a four-day capital murder trial. The defendant was charged with murder after he walked into a Walmart and fatally shot his ex-girlfriend, who was an optometrist there. The defendant attempted to offer an insanity plea but was not successful. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole at the request of the victim’s family, who did not seek the death penalty.

In Hill v. State, 269 So. 3d 1 (Miss. 2018), two defendants were indicted for sexual battery, kidnapping, and robbery after they brutally attacked and locked a fellow college student in a closet and sexually assaulted another student. As lead prosecutor, Mr. Colom handled several pretrial motions, questioned witnesses, and delivered the closing argument at trial. The defendants were found guilty, and one was sentenced to 105 years in prison due to habitual offenses.

Mr. Colom also led the prosecution in State v. Martinez, 2019-0369-CR1C, Circuit Court of Lowndes County, which culminated in a five-day trial for the two defendants accused of murder. The decedent’s wife and mother-in-law reported that he had suddenly gone to a retreat but that he had not returned or provided them with further information. After neighbors saw the victim’s wife and mother-in-law burning items in the yard and replacing carpets, they notified the police, who found his remains. The victim’s mother-in-law was found guilty of first-degree murder and her daughter, the victim’s wife, pled guilty to second-degree murder.

Constitutional Law

While at the Mississippi Center for Justice, Mr. Colom represented Taylor Bell in Bell v. Itawamba. The plaintiff, Mr. Bell, was a student at Itawamba Agricultural School who was disciplined by the school after publishing a rap song on Facebook that contained threatening language and accused two teachers of sexual misconduct with students. He did not publish the song on school grounds or with school resources, but the school suspended him. Subsequently, Mr. Bell sued the school under the First Amendment. Although the district court dismissed Bell’s challenge and found that his rap was not protected under First Amendment, a divided panel on Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal. The appellate court found that disciplining Mr. Bell for his off-campus activities violated the First Amendment. Later, the full panel of Fifth Circuit judges took up the matter again and affirmed the district court’s decision. Mr. Colom represented Mr. Bell throughout his appeals, including an appeal to the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the Supreme Court denied certiorari.

Civil Rights and Employment

In Moore v. Gulf States Manufacturer, LLC, No. 1:14-cv-24-GHD-DAS, 2015WL4394568 (N.D. Miss. July 16, 2015), Mr. Colom, as a private attorney, represented a Black employee who was fired after a workplace accident. The employee filed a complaint for racial discrimination with the EEOC, alleging disparate treatment compared to white employees who were not terminated after similar workplace accidents. After the EEOC found evidence of disparate treatment, the employee sued his employer for violating his civil rights. The case was settled.

Professional Activities and Accolades

Mr. Colom’s expertise and dedication to the community have not gone unnoticed in Mississippi. He was named the Mississippi State Chapter of the NAACP’s Lawyer of the Year in 2017 and in 2016 received the Mississippi Trailblazer of the Year Award. The Oktibbeha County Branch of the NAACP also awarded him with their Award for Community Achievement in 2016. He was named a Rising Star in 2013 by the Mississippi Association for Justice’s New Lawyering Division. Mr. Colom was also recognized nationally with the National Bar Association’s Presidential Rising Star Award in 2021 and was honored by his alma mater with the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s under 40 Award in 2020.

Mr. Colom is currently on the Advisory Board of the VERA Institute for Justice Rural Jails Research and Policy Network and the Kiwanis International Service Club.

Related News

See All News