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

Media and the Courts Study Committee to meet Aug. 30 in Gulfport

August 19, 2002

The Supreme Court Media and the Courts Study Committee will meet at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, in Gulfport.

The committee is studying public access to the courts and the relationship between the media and the courts. Judges and media representatives are invited to attend the meeting.

The committee, after a series of meetings with media and judges around the state, will make recommendations to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

One of the issues for discussion is cameras in the trial courts.

Supreme Court Justice James E. Graves Jr., chairman of the Media and the Courts Study Committee, said, "The reason for these meetings is to have feedback."

Chancery Judge Margaret Alfonso, a member of the committee, said, "It gives the media and the courts an opportunity to have frank and open discussions concerning improving the relationship between the media and the courts and an opportunity to address problems that both perceive."

Judge Alfonso said, "One of the essential purposes is to explore the possible use of cameras in the courtroom in the state of Mississippi."

The Aug. 30 meeting will be at the Harrison County Chancery Court at 1801 23rd Avenue in Gulfport. The meeting will be in Courtroom Three on the second floor.

In addition to Justice Graves and Judge Alfonso, representatives of the judiciary on the committee are Circuit Judges Tomie T. Green of Jackson and Billy Joe Landrum of Laurel, Chancery Judge 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. Media members of the committee 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.