Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Media and the Courts Study Committee to meet in Tupelo

May 31, 2002

The Supreme Court Media and the Courts Study Committee will meet at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at the Lee County Justice Center in Tupelo. The meeting will be in the small courtroom on the second floor.

The committee is studying public access to the courts and the relationship between the media and the courts. One of the issues for discussion is cameras in the trial courts.

Supreme Court Justice James E. Graves Jr., chairman of the committee, announced Friday that he has appointed two media representatives to the study committee. They are Dick Rizzo, news director for Mississippi ETV and Public Radio in Mississippi, and Dennis Smith, vice president and news director of WLBT-TV in Jackson.

Graves said, "From the time that I was first named as chair of the Supreme Court Media and the Courts Study Committee, I have received suggestions from the media that representatives of the press should serve on the committee. After careful consideration of those suggestions, I have determined that media representatives should serve on the committee."

Graves said that Rizzo and Smith expressed an interest in serving. The Board of Directors of the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters Association voted unanimously to recommend them to serve on the committee.

Representing the judiciary on the committee are Circuit Judges Tomie T. Green of Jackson and Billy Joe Landrum of Laurel, Chancery Judges Margaret Alfonso of Gulfport and Norman L. Gillespie of Oxford, Madison County Judge William Agin, Terry and Utica Municipal Judge Lee Agnew Jr., and Bolivar County Justice Court Judge James Strait.

Other regional meetings are planned for media markets including Greenville, Meridian, Biloxi/Gulfport and Hattiesburg/ Laurel. Dates, times and locations for those meetings have yet to be set. Media will be notified in advance of the scheduling of other regional meetings.