Media and the Courts Study Committee to meet Oct. 11 in Meridian

Sept. 27 , 2002

The Supreme Court Media and the Courts Study Committee will meet at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at the Lauderdale County Courthouse in Meridian. The meeting will be in the circuit courtroom on the third floor.

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

One of the issues for discussion is cameras in the trial courts. The Code of Judicial Conduct now prohibits use of cameras in the trial courts. The committee will make recommendations to the Mississippi Supreme Court, including whether to change the rule that prohibits camera coverage.

Supreme Court Justice James E. Graves Jr., committee chairman, said goals of the committee are to enhance the relationship between the media and the courts, educate the public about the working of the courts and improve public confidence in the court system.

The meeting in Meridian is expected to be the last public hearing conducted by the study committee. Other meetings were conducted in Jackson, Tupelo, Gulfport and Greenville.

Anyone who is unable to attend but who wishes to make concerns know about public access to the courts and the relationship of the media and the courts may submit written comments before Oct. 15. Comments should be mailed to: Media and the Courts Study Committee, c/o Beverly Pettigrew Kraft, Administrative Office of Courts, P.O. Box 117, Jackson, MS 39205. Comments may be faxed to Kraft at 601-354-7459, or e-mailed to bkraft@courts.ms.gov.

Committee members include Graves, 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. 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.

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MEDIA CONTACT:   Beverly Pettigrew Kraft
Administrative Office of Courts
601-354-7452