The Court’s orders address changing circumstances and guidance provided by health authorities.
Due to the pandemic, specifically the Delta variant of COVID-19, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued an emergency order late Thursday.
The emergency order was issued to insure the safety of all community members and local and state judges.
“In these Orders, the Court has sought to properly balance individual rights, public health and safety, and the constitutional requirement that Mississippi state courts remain open and accessible,” stated the Court.
Based upon the evolving nature of the pandemic and the latest information available to the Court, Emergency Administrative Order-20 should be superseded by the following provisions:
- All local and state courts shall remain open to ensure the fulfillment of their constitutional and statutory duties.
- Individual judges have the discretion to control their own dockets, but are strongly encouraged to refer to the guidance issued by the MSDH for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- All courts are urged to limit in-person, courtroom contact as much as possible by utilizing available technologies, including electronic filing, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing.
- Individual judges must use discretion to postpone jury trials scheduled through Friday Sept. 10.
- In the event that remote technology isn’t available or can’t be utilized, certain in-person proceeds can continue including but not limited to:
- Various proceedings related to issues such as Habeas corpus, emergency child-custody orders, relief from abuse and orders of protection, mandatory youth court detention hearings held in custody, emergency mental-health orders, felony plea hearings, issues involving the COVID-19 public-health emergency, etc.
- Department of Child Protection Services emergency matters related to child protection
- Any other emergency and time-sensitive matters, in the discretion of individual judges.
- Individual judges are authorized to determine the manner in which in-person proceedings will be conducted and have the discretion to postpone jury trials scheduled through Friday, September 10, 2021. Judges also are authorized to modify scheduling of drug testing and home supervision through September 10, 2021, and have the discretion to instruct their clerks that jury summonses should not be sent to jurors that would be returnable to any date prior to Monday, September 13, 2021.