With COVID-19 cases surging, Mississippi gives judges options to delay jury trials

Published 9:10 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

Mississippi’s Supreme Court chief justice issued an emergency order Thursday allowing judges to postpone jury trials through mid-January because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph’s order also allows courts to use teleconferencing, videoconferencing and electronic filing to limit in-person contact in courts. Felony plea, felony sentencing and probation violation hearings can be conducted remotely.

The order is an extension of safety regulations that were already in place. Emergency Administrative Order 25 is the fourth emergency order issued by the chief justice since August which allows judges to postpone jury trials.

In his most recent order, Randolph cited the recent uptick in cases — especially the highly contagious omicron variant.

“Unfortunately, circumstances continue to deteriorate,” he said.

As of Dec. 14, there were 575 new COVID-19 confirmed infections in Mississippi. Approximately two weeks later, the number of confirmed cases increased more than eightfold, to 4,885 cases, Randolph said.