Tuesday, January 31, 2023

DA & Judges Stand Against HB #1020

The Hinds County District Attorney and Judiciary oppose HB #1020.  The bill creates a special prosecutor and judicial district for the Capitol Complex Improvement District, thus removing all CCID cases from the Hinds County judicial system.  

The Chief Justice appoints two judges while the Attorney General appoints four prosecutors for CCID cases.  The courts' jurisdiction includes civil and criminal cases.  Jurisdiction is concurrent with Hinds County Justice, Circuit, and Chancery Courts.  The new courts would begin operations on January 1, 2024. 

Hinds County District Attorney vigorously protested the bill yesterday in a statement: 

The Hinds County District Attorney’s Office adamantly opposes House Bill 1020. The bill would place the appointment of Hinds County judges in the hands of the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court. The bill would place the appointment of prosecutors in the hands of the Attorney General. This is a blatant attempt to steal the right to vote and elect officials from the citizens of Hinds County. All citizens of Hinds County and the State of Mississippi should be alarmed at the attempted disenfranchisement of citizens.

The truth is that the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office is and always has been, underfunded and understaffed by the legislature. The legislature sets and funds the number of prosecutors for each circuit court district. We do not need a new criminal justice system; we need to invest in the one we have.

Over the past 3 years, State leadership has temporarily invested more resources for criminal justice in Hinds County and we have made great progress. In 2022, we have had 133% more trials, secured over 1,000 convictions, and over 425 guilty pleas. Instead of permanently investing these resources, House Bill 1020 will create a separate criminal justice system with no input from the citizens of Hinds County. As a State, we have come too far in ensuring all citizens have equal rights. To take this monumental step backwards, removes self- government and minimizes the voices of our citizens.

The Judges weren't quite so brief in their statement as they argued the bill is unconstitutional.  All judges and County Attorney Gerald Mumford signed the statement posted below: 

Pending in the Legislature is House Bill I 020 a proposed bill which as it is written would  violate the Constitution of the State of Mississippi by disenfranchising voters of Hinds County Mississippi in their selection of Circuit, Chancery, County and Justice Court judges within the proposed boundaries of the Capital Complex Improvement District. House Bill 1020 undermines, and limits the constitutionally and statutorily vested authority, power, and jurisdiction of the Circuit, Chancery, County and Justice Court Judges and places the power of those Judges with appointed judges in violation of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi.

The Constitution of the State of Mississippi mandates the election of all Circuit, Chancery, County and Justice Court Judges for every established jurisdiction. HB I 020 carves out a new jurisdiction within Hinds County and creates a self-governing court for all persons, businesses, or government entities within the boundaries of the CCID. HB 1020 removes all those entities from the authority of the elected judges of the Circuit, Chancery, County and Justice Court Judges Court of Hinds County. This subdistrict is being created by general legislation which the Constitution of the State of Mississippi specifically prohibits (see Article 14 Sec 260 of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi). "[N]or shall the boundary of any judicial district in a county be changed, unless, at an election held for that purpose, two-thirds of those voting assent."

Article 6, Section 153 mandates the election of Circuit and Chancery Court Judges. The proposed appointment of judges within a new jurisdiction within the judicial district, will divest authority within Hinds County and amend or subvert constitutional guarantees and authorities.

House Bill I 020 removes the authority of the Circuit, Chancery, County and Justice Court judges from hearing and presiding over cases within the proposed Capital Complex Improvement District and takes the constitutional power of elected judges and gives it to Judges appointed by the Supreme Court.

This provision applies to chancery and county matters as well as circuit matters. If HB 1020 is passed the residents of all counties will be impacted. Based upon the broad language of the proposed bill the CCID courts will have exclusive jurisdiction over all Mississippi Consumer Protection Act cases, all Department of Human Services cases, all cases involving confirmation of tax sales, all appeals from the Mississippi Department of Revenue all appeals from licensing boards, all cases initiated by the State Auditor's Office and all decisions by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, all appeals of decisions of Medicaid as well as a myriad of other matters which directly involve the citizens located in all eighty-two (82) Mississippi counties. The proposed bill will establish venue for all of these actions solely in the CCID courts, effectively removing these matters from consideration by the locally elected chancellors of all counties. Article 4 Section 90 of the Mississippi Constitution prohibits the legislature from enacting any local laws which change the venue of civil and criminal cases.

HB 1020 is not a constitutional amendment but instead general legislation which does not comply with the laws of the State of Mississippi required to amend any Article or Section of the State Constitution. An Amendment to the Constitution must be placed on a ballot and adopted by a majority vote of the people of the entire state of Mississippi. The legislature cannot by a general bill divest the power of any Court

Every provision of House Bill 1020 is repugnant to the Constitution of the State of Mississippi and we are opposed to its introduction in either the House or in any similar form in the Senate for the reason that our Constitution specifically guarantees that the right of the people to Amend the Constitution of the State of Mississippi and that those vested rights, powers, duties, jurisdictions and authorities cannot be changed by a general bill.

State Representative Trey Lamar (R-Hazzard) authored the bill.  Capitol politicos expect the bill to pass the House. The House Ways and Means Committee passed the bill.  It must receive a three-fifths vote to move to the Senate.  History and text of bill.


Anonymous said...

Unconstitutional on its face.

Wake up call for Hinds county though

Anonymous said...

"WE just need more money". and.... it is racist not to give it to us

Anonymous said...

Yea, they gonna fight it......

How else are they going to "pad" their salaries without those low bail payoffs?

Just say'n!

Anonymous said...

If the legislature succeeds here, look for the Supermajority GOP legislature to start doing this in other heavily democrat areas in the name of justice reform.....which is exactly why the state supreme court won't let this stand if it passes. As much as Jackson really needs this, the constitution is pretty clear.

Anonymous said...

10:54 - If it's unconstitutional, how is it a wake-up call?

Anonymous said...

What 11:29 said. As much as Jackson needs this I prefer to uphold constitutionality and let Jackson drown.

You cant "like" governmental overreach when it is in our favor and be mad when the tables turn.

Work within the law or let the city fail.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:29 January 31, 2023:

I don't know if it's unconstitutional or not, but I suspect they could get a constitutional amendment passed.

It's in the best interest of more or less everybody in the state for the University Medical Center, JSU, the Capitol and state agencies, and ideally a decent stretch of residential property adjacent to it, to be safe and functional.

The residents of Jackson that want the graft and the lack of accountability for criminals can still have that, it will just be restricted to outside of the capitol district. The alternative is to invest in moving a bunch of infrastructure outside of Jackson. That would be insanely expensive and the only payoff would be a slightly larger area of dysfunction for the residents of Jackson committed to it.

Anonymous said...

To make it conform to the law, wouldn't they just have to set it as a separate Capital district and have the judges be state elected? That would scratch the major legal itch. Because If...

"The CCID courts will have exclusive jurisdiction over all Mississippi Consumer Protection Act cases, all Department of Human Services cases, all cases involving confirmation of tax sales, all appeals from the Mississippi Department of Revenue all appeals from licensing boards, all cases initiated by the State Auditor's Office and all decisions by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, all appeals of decisions of Medicaid as well as a myriad of other matters which directly involve the citizens located in all eighty-two (82) Mississippi counties."

Shouldn't it be a State elected judge anyway... their words, not mine.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the leaned judiciary of Hinds County missed the part in law school about precedent. This was done before with judges in Hinds County.

Anonymous said...

These clowns are just fearful for their own jobs!!! I’m a resident of NE Jackson and the reason we need this to happen is bc the mayor and these idiots aren’t doing there jobs

Anonymous said...

Do your dang job and this wouldn’t be an issue. The COJ wants the state to rescue them, but only with $$$ and not actually address the problems.

I have no idea if this can actually pass, but I commend the legislature on caring that the COJ needs help. As great as it sounds to leave the citizens of Jackson to their own problems, Jackson is the Capitol city with lots of essential services within its city limits.

Anonymous said...

Mabey this wouldn't happen if Hinds County Judges would stop blessing criminals?

Anonymous said...

I have been wondering for some time what the state does well enough to convince people that they would do a better job. Capitol police is made up of a lot of officers that couldn't get hired anywhere else. That's hard to do in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

“Capitol police is made up of a lot of officers that couldn't get hired anywhere else.” can you validate this statement?

Anonymous said...

Ceding judicial power, and losing the right of Hinds county citizens to elect their own judges,are concerns cited by the mayor, judges, Rukia and her group, in opposition to this proposal. Additionally,they view it's etiology as racist. However, maybe, just maybe, its an effort to provide much needed support and intervention in a situation that has gotten completely out of control. Maybe, its an effort to hold criminals who wreak havoc in the city through their violence, property crimes and quality of life issues, accountable for their actions. Maybe, its because things have gotten so bad under the current administration with no definitive plans for improvement,that there is no confidence in their ability or sincere desire to do so. Perhaps its because the mayor is the one who has thrown down the race gauntlet ---declaring Jackson a "Black city", to the exclusion of the many white citizens who still live, own businesses, pay the bulk of taxes and support the city. Perhaps it is because the mayor wants state money and autonomy in spending it when his decision making and track record on spending is abysmal. Just maybe, the mayor and his supporters should realize that if they would only do better, and be better, none of this would be necessary. People --- Black folks, White folks, everybody is tired of what is, and want better. Maybe, just maybe, cooperation instead of antagonism could benefit us all.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like somebody (1:40) didn't make the cut to get hired on the Capitol Police Squad.

I don't disagree that the state is not MUCH better, but anything is an improvement over COJ leaders and if you cant see that you should apply for JPD.

They love to hire folks who cant seem to spot criminals, too.

Anonymous said...

11:58, a constitutional amendment is not out of the question and would solve this debate once and for all, but that's more difficult than floating a bill during an election year simply to pander to certain voters.

Anonymous said...

To the "take the high road" crowd - has the other side played fair? Has this mayor respected the constitution? Has the city council respected the constitution? Do the actors within the Hinds county judicial branch respect the constitution?

There is a naive libertarian belief that if a gun can be used against you, the gun should be taken off the table and used by neither party. Problem is, as soon as the other side gets power they reach under the table and point the gun at you.

Take power when you can, build political infrastructure to promulgate your values while you can, and build it strong so that will the other side has the gun, they will spend their time tearing down your infrastructure instead of building their own.

Anonymous said...

This is a great move. It will make the capital police one step closer to becoming state police. When the capital police expands their jurisdiction it will be one step closer to cleaning up Jackson. Jackson will be better off with it. The people that work at the capital deserve the same legal system they have at home. And the citizens of Jackson will see how the system is supposed to work and that might help the citizens put people in office that can make their lives better.

Anonymous said...

2:47, your values tell you constitution be damned? Not a place I want to live.

Anonymous said...

Thank God the State is trying to do something about the State Capital for ALL Mississippians. I remember when I was a kid and was proud and excited to come on field trips to Jackson to see and learn about our Capital and its buildings and people. Imagine sending your kids to a field trip here now. The pathetic crumbling roads and desolation they would see. I know mine wouldn't be going without an armed guard on the bus with them.

Anonymous said...

State police? Meanwhile, didn't the Mississippi State Troopers move the HQ to Rankin County?

Anonymous said...

Jackson and it's sorry-ass leadership needs a cleanup no doubt. But I went to the Navy and served this country so that we would be a nation that respects the rule of law, even if I choke on it. This is plain UNCONSTITUTIONAL whether it's done to the people of Tupelo, Hattiesburg, Madison, and yes Jackson and it will make this state look more backwards than it's reputation when it's overturned. Find another way. Something legal.

Mrs. Eastover said...

Are our esteemed members of the local television media in favor of this or against it? Is it legal or against our state constitution ?

( Howard, CJ, Maggie, Melanie, Byron, Megan, Scott)

Anonymous said...

Wonder what Delbert will think of it since he lives in gated NE Jackson

Anonymous said...

Don’t mess with our fiefdom-

Anonymous said...

Whether it's constitutional or not, it was proposed with good intentions.
Nobody is going to be able to help Jackson.
Not with crime - that was the intent with this, and they call it racism.
Not with water - the governor sent in MEMA to get water running again, and Jackson responded with criticism and a lawsuit.
Not with garbage, which is simple for most cities.
Not with streets, which continue to destroy vehicles every day (even city-owned vehicles).
You cannot help those who refuse to help themselves, and that's the situation with Jackson.

Anonymous said...

"Master Blaster runs Bartertown!"

Anonymous said...

1054 - "unconstitutional" on its face?

Nice thing to parrot, but next time, come to the discussion with something to backup your claim.

Maybe you should go to the constitution and read the article about the legislature's ability to create inferior courts - then come tell us all how you can support your simple statement.

Anonymous said...

140 pm - what a crap. 95% or more of the Capitol Polkce officers today came from other jurisdictions; so obviously they had been hired elsewhere.

Nice claim, but just like the crap that flows from Lying Lumumba's lips, nothing true.

Anonymous said...

Very constitutional. The MS Constitution provides for the legislature to create inferior courts as needed. Specific language to that affect. And while these judges will require the same qualifications as a Circuit Judge or a Chancellor, they are not Circuit or Chancery Judges, they are "CCID Judges". All created within the four corners of the MS Constitution.

Yes, Lumumba, the honorable Hinds COunty Judicial group, etc can bitch and complain, but the state has been appointing judges to serve in Hinds County for two decades - to help clean up the docket from the work that the existing judges are ignoring ---- to the benefit of the criminals.

For all that are using the oft-repeated word "unconstitutional" come back and state why it is, other than you don't like it. That doesn't carry water when dealing with questions of constitutionality

Anonymous said...

This strikes me as a belated response to the late Robert Shuler Smith, the former Hinds County DA who used to refuse to indict criminals and put the police officers on trial. Can’t say I miss him.

While probably well-intentioned, I think this is a terrible idea, rife with unforeseen consequences.

Anonymous said...

Lumumba is not a quality lawyer. If he was he wouldn’t be a leech on the taxpayers. He’s a hack that never made it in private sector

Anonymous said...

Once again, someone trying to fight the crime in Jackson is met with protest and resistance. I will never understand.

Anonymous said...

@2:20 am, it’s “If he were,” not “If he was.” Contrary to fact. You must have cut English 101 to read blogs.

Anonymous said...

This is going to backfire if this bill becomes law. It will not stop crime but it will establish a problematic precedent. Either the law applies to everybody or it applies to nobody. It assumes that the people remaining in Jackson are somehow entitled to less rights than other citizens because of
the conditions they live under. It will become a national cause and Mississippi will be isolated and made to look silly. Mississippi has been here before and it did not end well.

Anonymous said...

This bill is brilliant. For once the legislature is taking the lead to address problems that, despite the assurances of the city, aren’t being handled. And I bet that the law abiding silent majority of those within the district, and by this I mean members of all races, wholeheartedly cheer on this bill. Get it done despite the racist rants.

Anonymous said...

Don't understand why the Judges are complaining - this would lighten their caseload, and once it is enacted they can change their schedule from working three days a week to two!

(Never see the judges at tge courthouse on Monday or Friday - cased are backed up but hey, somebody's got to water the garden back at the house.

Anonymous said...

January 31, 2023 at 3:54 PM
That is indeed correct: https://www.supertalk.fm/dps-headquarters-moving-to-rankin-county/

Anonymous said...

Consider this: Those who cry racism and 'I won't be able to vote for these judges' are the same ones who have voted twice for Lumumba who presides over the lawlessness with which this expansion will deal.

They cower in their homes and in their law offices but are afraid to consider solutions.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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