Jury trials can soon restart in half of state’s counties, Mississippi Supreme Court says

Published 11:07 am Friday, May 8, 2020

Half of Mississippi’s 82 counties will be able to resume jury trials after May 18 according to an order from the Mississippi Supreme Court issued Thursday evening.

In counties with two or fewer COVID-19 deaths, jury trials can resume after May 18, according to the court’s order. In counties with more than two deaths, court clerks must wait until June 15 to issue jury summonses.

Mississippi has 40 counties with two deaths or less, including Issaquena County which has had no reports of cases or deaths during the pandemic.

The order signed by Chief Justice Michael Randolph said the court is taking its direction from two doctors at the State Health Department, State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs and State Epidemiologist Paul Byers.

“Based on the latest information available to the Court,” the order concludes, “we find that modification of our prior Emergency Administrative Orders is warranted.”

The order cites MSHD statistics showing that COVID-19 deaths are mostly limited to specific portions of the population:

  • 43% of deaths are in long-term care facilities.
  • Only seven of 39 reported deaths involved individuals without significant underlying health conditions, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, lung disease, neurological conditions, renal disease, immuno-compromised issues and liver disease.
  • 88% of those who have died were 60 years old or older.
  • Only one person under age 30 has died and nobody under 18 has died.

“Based on the latest information available to the Court,” the order concludes, “we find that modification of our prior Emergency Administrative Orders is warranted.”

Here is a county-by-county look at when jury trials can restart using Thursday’s numbers from MSDH:

County Deaths Jury trial restart date
Amite 0 May 18
Benton 0 May 18
Claiborne 0 May 18
Covington 0 May 18
Issaquena 0 May 18
Jefferson 0 May 18
Lawrence 0 May 18
Newton 0 May 18
Quitman 0 May 18
Sharkey 0 May 18
Simpson 0 May 18
Stone 0 May 18
Tate 0 May 18
Tishomingo 0 May 18
Walthall 0 May 18
Wayne 0 May 18
Winston 0 May 18
Yalobusha 0 May 18
Alcorn 1 May 18
Copiah 1 May 18
Franklin 1 May 18
George 1 May 18
Greene 1 May 18
Jefferson Davis 1 May 18
Montgomery 1 May 18
Perry 1 May 18
Tallahatchie 1 May 18
Webster 1 May 18
Choctaw 2 May 18
Grenada 2 May 18
Jasper 2 May 18
Leake 2 May 18
Marshall 2 May 18
Noxubee 2 May 18
Panola 2 May 18
Pontotoc 2 May 18
Prentiss 2 May 18
Tunica 2 May 18
Warren 2 May 18
Yazoo 2 May 18
Attala 3 June 15
Carroll 3 June 15
Clay 3 June 15
Coahoma 3 June 15
Lafayette 3 June 15
Lowndes 3 June 15
Sunflower 3 June 15
Union 3 June 15
Washington 3 June 15
Calhoun 4 June 15
Humphreys 4 June 15
Jones 4 June 15
Lamar 4 June 15
Lee 4 June 15
Oktibbeha 4 June 15
Desoto 5 June 15
Scott 5 June 15
Clarke 6 June 15
Harrison 6 June 15
Itawamba 6 June 15
Kemper 6 June 15
Rankin 6 June 15
Smith 6 June 15
Marion 7 June 15
Bolivar 8 June 15
Chickasaw 9 June 15
Hancock 9 June 15
Pike 9 June 15
Wilkinson 9 June 15
Tippah 10 June 15
Adams 11 June 15
Hinds 11 June 15
Jackson 11 June 15
Neshoba 11 June 15
Lincoln 12 June 15
Madison 12 June 15
Holmes 16 June 15
Forrest 18 June 15
Leflore 18 June 15
Monroe 20 June 15
Pearl River 24 June 15
Lauderdale 40 June 15