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

Batesville Civic Center becomes a courthouse
June 4, 2020

The arena of the Batesville Civic Center in Panola County became a courtroom on Monday and Tuesday, June 1 and 2, as the first felony criminal jury trial was completed in the state since the COVID-19 pandemic arose.

Circuit Judge John Gregory to retire June 30
May 22, 2020

Circuit Judge John A. Gregory of Okolona announced Friday that he will retire on June 30.

Judge Primeaux will cease posting to his Better Chancery Practice Blog
May 22, 2020

After 10 years of publishing the Better Chancery Practice Blog, Chancellor Larry Primeaux of Meridian will make his last post on June 15.

New Pearl River County Courthouse Annex opens in Poplarville
May 19, 2020

Chancellor Rhea Sheldon convened court for the first time Monday in a new courthouse in Poplarville.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–12
May 14, 2020

In prior Emergency Administrative Orders, the Court has recognized that the national and state emergencies created by Coronavirus (COVID-19) require appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of the citizens of this State. The Court continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and enter Orders as empirical data and changing circumstances dictate.

Before the Court is a letter motion filed by The Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions (Board) which recommends that the July 2020 Bar Examination "proceed[,]" subject to "enumerated conditions...." The Board's recommendation is based upon "a strong desire on the part of the applicants to proceed with the Bar Exam at the earliest date possible [,]"

Chancellor Charles Smith recovering, eager to return to work
May 14, 2020

Chancellor Charles Smith of Meridian is eager to return to the bench and hopes that doctors will clear him to resume his duties in a few weeks.

Youth Courts, CPS work to keep parents and children connected
May 12, 2020

While COVID-19 has forced most families to spend time together at home, Youth Courts and Child Protection Services have worked to make sure that children in temporary foster care don’t experience further separation as safety measures against the coronavirus curtail in person visits with their biological parents.

Supreme Court appoints Stacey Pickering to Intervention Courts Advisory Committee
May 11, 2020

Mississippi State Veterans Affairs Board Executive Director Stacey E. Pickering has been appointed to the State Intervention Courts Advisory Committee.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–11
May 7, 2020

The Court continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and enters Orders as empirical data and changing circumstances dictate. Local judges and their staff, in conjunction with local bar associations and elected officials, remain in the best position to
balance the public-health risks in their communities related to COVID-19, while fulfilling their constitutional and statutory duty to keep our courts open.

Our first Emergency Administrative Order was entered on March 13, 2020. Since then, this Court has monitored and closely scrutinized the empirical data provided by the Mississippi State Department of Health ("MSDH") and has consulted with the State Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, and State Epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers, regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the citizens of our State.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–10
May 5, 2020

Before the Court is the Mississippi Commission on Continuing Legal Education's (the Commission) Petition to Temporarily Remove the Limit on CLE Credit Earned Through Online Programs. Due to concerns related to the Coronavirus, the Commission asks the Court to

temporarily amend Rule 3 of the Rules and Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education to waive the in-person requirement for attorneys' continuing legal education obligation for the 2019-2020 reporting year so that attorneys will be allowed to earn CLE credits in the method of their choosing either online, webinars or live, in-person programs.
IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–9
May 5, 2020

The Supreme Court and the Chief Justice, in his capacity as chief administrative officer of all courts in the state, find that certain temporary amendments to the Rules and Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Judicial Education are required to hinder the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The following temporary amendments are warranted:

(A) Regulation 3.9 shall be temporarily suspended. Judges may complete their 2019-2020 CJE requirements through the method of their choosing, either online, webinars or live, in-person programs, as approved by the Committee on Continuing Judicial Education.

(B) Rule 5 shall be temporarily amended to allow judges to report their compliance with the Rules and Regulations for Mandatory Continuing Judicial Education on or before September 30, 2020.

(C) Any judge who is unable to complete the temporarily amended requirements may seek a hardship exemption and/or extension from the Committee on Continuing Judicial Education.

Legal Aid attorneys are available by phone to provide civil legal assistance
May 1, 2020

The Access to Justice Commission and two Legal Services agencies announced this week that free legal aid providers are available to assist low income people with civil legal needs like family law, housing and consumer issues.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–8
April 23, 2020

Rule 8.5(c) of the Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

(c) Review by Circuit Court. No later than seven (7) days before the commencement of each term of circuit court in which criminal cases are adjudicated, the official(s) having custody of felony defendants being held for trial, grand jury action, or extradition within the county ( or within the county's judicial districts in which the court term is to be held) shall provide the presiding judge, the district attorney, and the clerk of the circuit court the names of all defendants in their custody, the charge(s) upon which they are being held, and the date they were most recently taken into custody. The senior circuit judge, or such other judge as the senior circuit judge designates, shall review the conditions of release for every felony defendant who is eligible for bail and has been in jail for more than ninety (90) days.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Lenore Prather died April 11
April 13, 2020

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Lenore Loving Prather died Saturday, April 11, at her home in Columbus. She was 88.

DEADLINE HAS PASSED. Proposals no longer being accepted. Request for Proposal - - Intervention Courts Case Management System (ICCMS)
April 6, 2020

The RFP is issued by the Supreme Court of Mississippi’s Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) to solicit sealed proposals from qualified vendors to establish a contract through competitive negotiations for the procurement of a statewide Intervention Courts Case Management System (ICCMS). It is anticipated that the contract resulting from this RFP will be for a period of one year (12 months) with the ability of the AOC to extend for up to two (2) additional years, contingent upon satisfactory vendor performance and continued funding. Vendor proposal receipt deadline of April 27, 2020 4:00 p.m. CST.

Supreme Court says courts must remain open while taking safety precautions
March 26, 2020

Seven members of the Supreme Court gathered in a large conference room on Thursday with two more participating via teleconference as the state’s highest court continued to deal with how to keep all courts open while protecting public health and safety.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–7
March 26, 2020

In Emergency Administrative Order-4, relating to the COVID-19 virus, the Court addressed the "procedures available for conducting initial appearances and bail review hearings." The Court "temporarily suspended" Rule 1.8 of the Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure's requirement that "defense counsel be present at the location with the defendant during the proceedings." And in Emergency Administrative Order-5, this Court urged trial and appellate courts "to limit in-person, courthouse contact as much as possible by utilizing available technologies, including electronic filing, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing."

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–6
March 20, 2020

In prior Emergency Administrative Orders, the Court has recognized that the national and state emergencies created by Coronavirus (COVID-19) require appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of the citizens of this State. Those measures are constantly changing and the Court continues to modify its orders to hinder the spread of COVID-19.

Upon request by the Mississippi Court Reporters Association, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice, in his capacity as chief administrative officer of all courts in the state, find that any actual or implied requirement that persons qualified to administer an oath in the State of Mississippi, must be in the presence of witnesses for purposes of administering an oath for depositions and other legal testimony be suspended, so long as the qualified person can both see and hear the witness via audio-video communications equipment for purposes of readily identifying the witness.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–5
March 20, 2020

Consistent with the Court’s prior Emergency Administrative Orders entered in this matter, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice, in his capacity as chief administrative officer of all courts in the state, reiterate that, pursuant to the Constitution of this State, all local and state courts – municipal, justice, county, chancery, circuit, and appellate courts – shall remain open to ensure the fulfillment of their constitutional and statutory duties. See, e.g., Miss. Const. Art. 3, § 24 (“All courts shall be open . . . and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, or delay”).

That said, in the prior Emergency Administrative Orders, the Court has recognized that the national and state emergencies created by Coronavirus (COVID-19) require appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of the citizens of this State. Those measures are constantly changing and the Court continues to modify its orders to hinder the spread of COVID-19.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–4
March 18, 2020

Before the Court is a letter motion filed by the Office of the State Public Defender, "after conversing with public defenders and criminal justice advocates throughout the State." The motion prays that the Court consider "modification of the Emergency Administrative Order to facilitate and clarify procedures available for conducting initial appearances and bail review hearings." This request by the State Public Defender is made to "minimize the number of people who enter detention facilities." The motion specifically requests that the requirement in the Rule 1.8 of the Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure that "defense counsel be present at the location with the defendant during the proceedings" be temporarily suspended.

Supreme Court issues EAO-4 to hinder spread of COVID-19
March 18, 2020

The Mississippi Supreme Court today issued an order that temporarily suspends the portion of Rule 1.8 of the Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure regarding the use of Interactive Audiovisual Devices in criminal proceedings. Rule 1.8(b)(3) requires defense counsel to be present at the same location with the defendant during preliminary proceedings. The Court entered this order to hinder the spread of COVID-19.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–3
March 17, 2020

The Supreme Court and the Chief Justice, in his capacity as chief administrative officer of all courts in the state, find that consistent with the Constitution of this State, all local and state courts shall remain open. Section 24 of our State's Constitution could not be any clearer – "All courts shall be open...and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, or delay." Miss. Const. Art. 3, § 24.

However, due to the national and state emergencies caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19), certain steps and measures must be taken to protect the health and safety of the citizens of this State.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER–2
March 15, 2020

On March 15, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), addressing the national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020, issued its “Interim Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” The CDC recommends the cancellation or postponement of all in-person events that consist of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks, as such events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Their recommendation does not apply to day-to-day operations of organizations, such as schools and businesses.

The Supreme Court has previously found that certain emergency actions are required in light of the pandemic nature of this emergency and the rapidly changing circumstances. In my capacity as chief administrative officer of all courts in this state and consistent with the first Emergency Administrative Order, I find that the following modifications and/or amendments are required.

IN RE: EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
March 13, 2020

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Supreme Court and the Chief Justice, in his capacity as chief administrative officer of all courts in the state, find that certain emergency actions as set forth hereinafter are required. Additionally, due to the pandemic nature of this emergency and the rapidly changing circumstances, the Court will continue to monitor this situation and may enter additional orders as necessary.

University of Mississippi Law award named in honor of Judge Henry Lackey
March 6, 2020

The University of Mississippi School of Law Trial Advocacy Board has created an award to honor the integrity, commitment and advocacy of the late Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City.

Chief Justice Randolph to speak at Drug Court graduation in Pascagoula March 12
March 6, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will be the guest speaker on March 12 at 11 a.m. at a graduation of the 19th Circuit Drug Court in Pascagoula. The ceremony will be held on the second floor of the Jackson County Courthouse at 3104 Magnolia Street.

Chief Justice Randolph to speak to Biloxi business leaders Feb. 27
February 25, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will speak to the Biloxi Businessmen's Club on Feb. 27 at noon at Mary Mahoney's Restaurant in Biloxi. Chief Justice Randolph is expected to talk about the role of drug courts and the judiciary' s budget request for the next fiscal year.

Chief Justice appoints Judge Smith Murphey as Commission on Judicial Performance alternate member
February 12, 2020

Chief Justice Mike Randolph has appointed Circuit Judge Smith Murphey V of Batesville as an alternate member of the Commission on Judicial Performance.

Court of Appeals to convene at Old Capitol Museum February 19
January 30, 2020

About 160 high school students from Jackson and Puckett are expected to attend a special session of the Mississippi Court of Appeals on Feb. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson.

Court of Appeals to visit Mississippi Valley State University February 13
January 29, 2020

The Mississippi Court of Appeals will convene on the campus of Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena at 1 p.m. Feb. 13. A three-judge panel will hear oral arguments in a criminal appeal at the W.A. Butts Social Science Building Auditorium.

Chief Justice Randolph to appear before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Feb. 4
January 29, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will appear before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 408 of the Capitol.

Chief Justice Randolph will speak to Magee Lions Club Feb. 3
January 29, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will speak to the Magee Lions Club on Feb. 3 at noon at Berry’s Seafood Restaurant in Magee.

Chief Justice Randolph addresses country’s historical reliance on Providence, calls for civility and nonviolence
January 20, 2020

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph on Monday issued a plea for civility and non-violence and addressed this country’s historical reliance on Providence.

Chief Justice will speak at Dr. Martin Luther King event in Hattiesburg Jan. 20
January 17, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will be the keynote speaker at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ecumenical and Interracial Prayer Breakfast Jan. 20 at 7 a.m. in Hattiesburg. The prayer breakfast will be held at the Thad Cochran Center on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.

Retired Hinds County Court Judge Houston Patton died Jan. 12
January 16, 2020

Retired Hinds County Court Judge Houston Patton died on Jan. 12 at St. Dominic Hospital. He was 84.

Chief Justice Randolph speaks to Gulf Coast Business Council
January 10, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph said Friday that the Mississippi Judiciary needs a $4 million budget increase to implement new intervention courts to help veterans and people with mental illnesses, and to increase judges’ salaries for their additional duties.

State Librarian Stephen Parks sworn in for second term
January 9, 2020

State Librarian Stephen Parks of Jackson was elected to his second term Jan. 9 during a joint session of the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Mississippi Senate.

Justice Ishee sworn in to begin new term on Supreme Court
January 7, 2020

Justice David M. Ishee of Gulfport took the oath of office Jan. 6 to begin a new term on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Randolph will speak to Gulf Coast Business Council on Jan. 10
January 7, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph will speak to the Gulf Coast Business Council on Jan. 10 at 8 a.m. in the Regions Ballroom at the Knight Nonprofit Center in Gulfport.