MS Supreme Court allows judges to postpone trials as COVID surges

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With the continued spread of the Delta variant, the Mississippi Supreme Court has issued an emergency order implementing COVID-19 safeguards in all courts in the state.

Issued by Chief Justice Mike Randolph, the order gives individual judges discretion to adopt safety measures. Judges have discretion to postpone jury trials scheduled through September 10. The order also calls for use of teleconferencing, videoconferencing and electronic filing to limit in-person contact in courts. The order allows felony plea hearings, felony sentencing hearings and probation violation hearings to be conducted remotely.

Chief Justice Randolph in Emergency Administrative Order 21 said, “If not otherwise prohibited, all courts are urged to limit in-person, courtroom contact as much as possible by utilizing available technologies, including electronic filing, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing.”

The order continues on to say that “any in-person proceedings shall be limited to attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers, members of the press, and other necessary persons, as determined by the trial judge.”

Chief Justice Randolph said that all courts have a constitutional and statutory responsibility to remain open. The order sets out a list of more than a dozen kinds of proceedings which must be conducted in person if remote technology is unavailable or not feasible.

The Court is not mandating masks but referenced current MSDH guidance that recommends wearing a mask in all indoor public settings, even if you are vaccinated. 

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