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

Justice Court Task Force to meet Wednesday, Sept. 5

August 31, 2007

The Justice Court Task Force will meet on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 10 a.m. on the Fourth Floor of the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson.

Members of the media are welcome to attend to learn more about the work of the Justice Court Task Force, which was created to study the Justice Court system. This administrative planning meeting is NOT one of the scheduled public hearings, although several individuals are expected to attend to observe. The Task Force will NOT hear testimony from the public at this meeting. The meeting is the last planning and discussion session to be conducted by the 13-member Task Force before the public hearings begin.

Public hearing dates and locations are:

• Sept. 6, Lee County Justice Center, Tupelo;

• Sept. 10, Tate County Courthouse, Senatobia;

• Sept. 11, Attala County Courthouse, Kosciusko;

• Sept. 13, Adams County Courthouse, Natchez;

• Sept. 25, Hinds County Circuit Courthouse, Jackson;

• Oct. 1, Harrison County Courthouse, Gulfport;

• Oct. 2, Masonic Temple on Main Street, Hattiesburg;

• Oct. 4, Sunflower County Courthouse, Indianola;

• Oct. 8, Lauderdale County Courthouse, Meridian.

The time for public comment is 6 to 7 p.m. at each location. Each speaker will be allowed five minutes.

The Sept. 25 hearing in Jackson will also include a separate time for representatives of public agencies and organizations to speak. Representatives of governmental entities and organizations may address the Task Force in Jackson between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Hinds County Courthouse. Representatives of agencies and organizations may speak for 10 minutes during the afternoon session. Agencies and organizations are also asked to provide written statements to the Task Force.

The 2007 Mississippi Legislature adopted Senate Bill 2567, which created the Task Force to study the Justice Court system. Public comments will be limited to these specific topic areas which were named by the Legislature:

• duties and services provided by Justice Court judges;

• training for Justice Court judges;

• salaries for Justice Court judges;

• jurisdictional limits for Justice Courts;

• Uniform Rules of Procedure for Justice Courts;

• whether jury trials should occur in Justice Courts;

• time and manner of Justice Court elections and the feasibility of non-partisan elections.

The Task Force, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Michael K. Randolph of Hattiesburg, will present its findings to the Legislature no later than Dec. 1, 2007.