Thursday, February 2, 2023

A Compromise for HB #1020

To say the Hinds County criminal justice system has been dysfunctional has been an understatement as "catch & release" and "blessings" are favored descriptions of what passed for Hinds County justice over the years.  A frustrated legislature is taking action this year in the form of HB #1020.  However, 1020 didn't use a sledgehammer for the proverbial nail but instead uses a chainsaw to fix problems no one knew existed while polarizing the races even more.


State Representative Trey Lamar's bill  creates two special courts, Circuit and Chancery, in the Capitol Complex Improvement District.  The Chief Justice appoints the judges while the Attorney General appoints four prosecutors.  While it is understandable  the legislature wants to do something about crime, who knew there was a problem with divorces and adoptions in Hinds County. 

The bill stirred up opposition among the  Black Caucus as well as the black community.  Sensing an opportunity to score points at the legislature's expense,  Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba wasted no time in exploiting the bill Monday, as calling it "plantation politics at its finest" and an example of  "colonialism."  Such rhetoric only made Republicans in the Legislature more determined to pass the bill and stick it to the Mayor.  They are tired of Jackson crime, tired of Jackson's inability to handle basic services, and tired of the Mayor (as well as the media) trashing them every chance he gets.  In doing so, they take the Mayor's bait and give him a big fat target for his bomb-throwing ways.  

Indeed, State Representative Lamar might as well call HB #1020  the "Rukia Lumumba Election Act."  Make no mistake, the black community in Jackson is not a monolith.  More than a few members don't like the Mayor and think he is an incompetent boob.  They are tired of the killing and dry pipes.  However, HB #1020 is pushing them into supporting the Mayor as he says the bill takes away their right to vote for judges and he is right.

One can argue the people of Hinds County blessed the criminals by electing crappy judges as they have done over the years.  However, people have the right to be stupid at the ballot box in a representative republic.  You know, the free will thing.  The bill takes away a right appreciated by everyone else in Mississippi.  

Mayor Lumumba's sister, Rukia, is a candidate for HB #72.  Make no mistake, the bill creates a perfect issue for Sista Rukia and she knows it.  

More than a few Republicans scoff at Sista Rukia's candidacy.  Several say her bills will be dead on arrival, she will accomplish nothing, blah, blah, blah.  However, she can read the political room just as well as they can.  Such snark might mean something if passing bills were her goal.

Make no mistake, the Mayor's sister is nothing more than a left-wing David Duke.  Remember him?  He was a pretty good speaker and knew how to rile up his band of crazies.  He was a political nothing until he somehow won a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives.  Suddenly he had political legitimacy.  He was in "the club." He had a platform before there was social media and nightly cable wars. 

Ms. Lumumba is considered to be more radical than her brother, a female Strelnikov. A State Representative Rukia Lumumba doesn't have to get bills passed as winning a seat gives her a platform for her radical politics.  The media runs to her en masse.  Her family gets more political power as Republicans play right into her hands.  

There is a way to improve the criminal justice system in Hinds County that lowers the temperature and doesn't take away anyone's right to vote for judges.   

The first step is to give the District Attorney more prosecutors.  Saleswomen are familiar with the dreaded term "pipeline."  Well, Jackson has had record murders for the last three years and the prosecution pipeline is about to burst.  The District Attorney needs help.  Fund more prosecutors for his office. 

Junk the idea of special circuit and chancery courts.

Now, just because the Kingfish said don't create special circuit and chancery courts does not mean the state should not create a special court in the CCID.  There is a way to accomplish much of what the Republicans want to do within existing customs and framework.  

Create the equivalent of the municipal court in the CCID. The municipal courts handles misdemeanors bonds, initial appearances, and preliminary hearings*.   The mayor appoints municipal court judges and prosecutors.  If a CCID "muni" court were created, the Chief Justice can still appoint the judge while the Attorney General appoints the prosecutor.  The prosecutor could be allowed to handle the case post-indictment per approval of the District Attorney.  

Such a compromise advances the cause of justice in the Capitol Complex Improvement District while lowering the temperature.  The police get more help from the court system while Hinds County voters retain their right to elect judges. 

* Unless the defense attorney opts for a higher court, which often happens.


Anonymous said...

A terrible 'compromise' KF.

First, the state gave the DA (and the public defender) many more prosecutors this last year. Along with staff to support them. So the first part of your 'compromise' has been done. Despite that, and no matter what Owens or anybody else in that office does, they still have to go before the Judges sitting on the bench.

And, your compromise would raise the same issues with the city municipal judges that the county judges are screaming - you are taking away our jurisdiction. And the Mayor could scream that louder because it would be "taking away" his authority.

Mayor currently has no authority over the circuit or chancery judges - but he appoints the municipal judges. To create a separate municipal judge as you call it, could be claimed to be a direct slap at Mayor, where the county level actually has nothing to do with Lumumba.

No, the proposed bill is a much better answer. Yes, many folks won't like it - just like many folks don't like Henifin's water rate structure that some unelected official is planning to implement. Some folks don't like the city's 35% EBO requirements for contracting. Some folks don't like the elimination of the income tax; others want the elimination of the grocery tax. Some want to keep Tesla from selling those high-priced selfdriving EVs direct; others think just like the buggy whip manufacturers didn't like letting horseless carriages roam the dirt roads, but change happens.

Changing the court structure is within the authority of the legislature - to create inferior courts as needed.

Appointing judges to handle cases in Hinds County has been the standard for two decades now - the state has been assigning additional judges to deal with the backed up docket two or three at a time.

Anonymous said...

Then why hasn't Gibbs or Green come out against it? Or even release any platform? All in cahoots with the Lumumbles.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we expand the CCID to create a voter base capable of electing good judges/prosecutors?

Municipal courts are weak and don't usually deal with violent crime.

Anonymous said...

To take such an extreme measure the legislature should be able to assure all persons involved that their motives are honorable, that is: controlling rampant crime. That's the issue. What does that have to do with the Chancery Court? It's not a small issue as Hinds County Chancery is often involved in litigating some of the most important issues in state government. If that court is still included in this bill someone's motives SHOULD be questioned.

Anonymous said...

mayor doesn't want real cops and real courts;

Anonymous said...

"The media runs to her en masse"

I see what you did there.

Anonymous said...

Ive heard Justis Gibbs speak. He has very detailed plans and a vision for the area.

Anonymous said...


There is no reason for Hinds County to have a disproportionate power in litigation involving the state. Based on the performance of Hinds County and its judges, it is a bad idea to have judges from there deciding state issues.

It seems perfectly appropriate to have judges hearing those cases that people all over the state have a say in, even if it's indirectly.

The issue of having felonies decided by specially created judges is a more questionable issue, for those people that reside in the CCID. They are losing some voice compared to other people in the state. That said, I suspect the vast majority of people that reside in the CCID would prefer the judges that will be appointed, because they won't be getting convicted of felonies and they don't like being much more desirable targets of crime than the residents of Madison County.

Anonymous said...

Notice to readers: You might as well stop reading at this comment by the Fish..."problems no one knew existed while polarizing the races even more."

Who the hell doesn't know these problems exist? Getchur head out of your ass, Kingfish. By the way, Fish, the races can't be more polarized than polar-opposite, which is the current situation.

Paul Mitchell said...

The "compromise" solution to this whole fiasco is for the legislature to just move all state government offices out of Jackson. Leave the legislature at the Capital, but abandon everything else. Build a fence around the Capitol grounds and stay inside the fence. Sink a well at the Capitol for water and install a septic system there.

I have no clue if that is even doable or legal, but for our state government to keep the war going with the morons in Jackson government is a waste of time for everyone. Just cut bait, y'all, it's done.

Anonymous said...

4:48 Unless dealing with Hinds County, or more specifically Jackson, there has generally been a measure of respect for the separation of powers, judicial and legislative, as prescribed by the constitution. This is clearly an exceptional situation and it ought to be very carefully crafted not painted with a broad brush. Broad, only as it relates to certain parts of Hinds County. This business should be logical, and as legal as possible.

Anonymous said...

KF, I get what you mean in this article, but when you said "One can argue the people of Hinds County blessed the criminals by electing crappy judges as they have done over the years. However, people have the right to be stupid at the ballot box in a representative republic. You know, the free will thing," isn't that the problem in a nutshell? If they're allowed to continue to do the same thing - or even a "hybrid" using your compromise suggestion - why make any changes? Things will continue as they are.

I get the whole politics thing with the sistah, the media, and others, but at some point, someone with some genuine balls has to stand up to this administration and basically say, "it's clear that you're either incapable or unwilling to oversee the running of an orderly society; therefore, some BIG changes will have to be made on your behalf, many of which you're not going to like. Unfortunately, that's just what it's going to take at this point in time."

Without real supervision from some adults - in the form of much more law enforcement, both from the police and additional court services - NOTHING will change. Remember, the culture in charge doesn't see the operation of an orderly society as beneficial.

Anonymous said...

@4:48, where's thus public platform? Nothing from the Ivory Tower.

Anonymous said...

Was Strelnikov a real person? I thought he was just a character mentioned by Alec Guinness in Doctor Zhivago

Anonymous said...

You need to keep Queen Rukia’s name out yo mouf, fish.

Anonymous said...

I didn’t realize kingfish was so tied in to the black community in Jackson that he became their spokesperson. Thanks for sharing their views.

Anonymous said...

@4:48, why haven’t the common folk heard from baby Gibbs? He won’t do public things. Must be a select crew.

Anonymous said...

Two points, KFish,

(1) This is about the dumbest statement I've ever read that you made or heard:
"While it is understandable the legislature wants to do something about crime, who knew there was a problem with divorces and adoptions in Hinds County. "
The Chancery Court handles a damn lot of things other than divorces and adoptions - and especially the Chancery Court where the seat of government is located.

(2) I would gladly let Sista sit in the Legislature if we could get the Court systems here in this county have a better chance of serving "justice for all". The polarization in the city, county, state, and nation is definately in place, and if this bill never had been printed, the situation would be no different. If not this bill, the next bill or the next action of the current state government would be another reason for the Lumumba Family to be screaming racism.

I'm not sure I agree with your political theory of this would elect her - I've heard your poliltical pronostications plenty of times before, and like most observers you are right sometimes, close some others, and wrong othes. Your theory that this would alienate the voters enough is a stretch - but like I said, I could put up with her in the House (we have plenty of other members that scream the same noise at the same octave already, one more isn't going to change that) if we improved governance in this city and county.

Anonymous said...

In Boy Scouts you are taught that if someone is drowning you try to save them using this sequence of methods: reach, throw, row and then go. The COJ is drowning in crime. If they are more interested in choosing how they are saved rather than being saved, I say let them drown. For once, I agree with the mayor. Let’s not send state aid to help the COJ with a local problem.

Anonymous said...

It is nice being number one in some categories. Jackson is number one in per. Capita murders in the United States. Keep up the good work Lamumba.

Anonymous said...

I have a case in Hinds Chancery - Judge Grove - and I cannot obtain hearing dates. It is pretty unbelievable. Many, many attempts.

Anonymous said...

5:41 puts it well. Bravo!

QueenBee said...

First of all, YOU"RE LYING!!! Let me help you out here....
I'm glad I commonly read this site. And, I HIGHLY DOUBT your statement about Judge Grove at Chancery Court! In fact, I KNOW you're lying! I need you to get it right, okay? Consider yourself fully "checked!" If you sincerely want a hearing date, FOLLOW DIRECTIONS like other professionals - and get one!

Anonymous said...

One service at a time, one step at a time. The plan has been in place to cut the city out of that area for years. There isn’t a thing Baby Choc or the rest of the corrupt “officials” in Jackson can do about it. Much like when the City crossed into Rankin County and colonized property for their airport. Oh wait, the legislature did that too.

Anonymous said...

"Chancery is often involved in litigating some of the most important issues in state government."

Please mention a few.

Anonymous said...

February 3, 2023 at 3:34 AM
I mean they have it on their website:

But for those that aren't going to follow a link:

>Chancery Courts have jurisdiction over disputes in matters involving equity; domestic matters including adoptions, custody disputes and divorces; guardianships; sanity hearings; wills; and challenges to constitutionality of state laws. Land records are filed in Chancery Court.

>Chancery Courts have jurisdiction over juvenile matters in counties which have no County Court. The chancellor may appoint a lawyer in private practice to sit as a youth court referee to hear juvenile matters such as delinquency, abuse and neglect.

>Trials are typically heard by a chancellor without a jury, although state law allows parties to request a jury in Chancery Court.

Anonymous said...

It'd be nice if attorneys who don't rely on media or politics to be successful weighed in. Perhaps, our Law School professors could be consulted.
Maybe Inns of Court could study it.
No...that would be a rational, thoughtful change.
What we have here, Scooter, is a legislature that wants one party to control all of government and doesn't look at the long term implications and one day, your town or city will find that out.
Oh, but you knew that. It's happened before in history.

Anonymous said...

This compromise will not work. Felonies would still go before the current DA and all of the lackluster judges of Hinds County. Felons would still get a slap on the wrist, and be allowed to go back out and continue their violent acts. Most of the misdemeanors that occur within the CCID are most likely traffic violations, DUIs, petit larceny, trespassing, etc. While enforcing these laws would make a difference, they still would not deter the most violent offenders that frequent the area. Chokwe wanted to have the most radical city in the country. Well, he has it - one of the highest murder rates in the country. Now, it's time for the legislature to do something radical, and take back the Capital city. Once crime is dealt with in that area with an efficient judicial system, businesses and patrons will return. Heck, some residents might even return to Belhaven, Fondren, and other parts of the CCID. The current city leadership is completely inept and incompetent, and has shown that they probably can't run a daycare. If they had made any type of effort over the last six years, this bill wouldn't even be up for discussion. Pass HB 1020 and let 'er rip!

Anonymous said...

8:04 - If THOSE are examples of 'the most important issues in the state', as you said earlier, I'll eat my bailiff's badge.

Anonymous said...

It’s not fair to me that the bill doesn’t cover my area of Jackson. Why only do this for certain parts of Jackson? If you want Jackson to be “better” as far as crime, they should help JPD with the entire city! I’m all for judges being appointed because obviously these voters are criminals or related to criminals constantly voting for people based upon skin color. I wonder how it would be if we had a white democrat and black republican?

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't ‘Attorney’ Gibbs ever tried a case or been to court? Rukia a real one

Anonymous said...

If Jackson had a DA who had experience and a head Public Defender who had experience, the court system may work. But since the DA and PD are so inexperienced, we are supposed to accept incompetence?
C'mon man......

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