Home » Miss. lawmakers vote to create a separate, all-white-appointed court and police system

Miss. lawmakers vote to create a separate, all-white-appointed court and police system

by The Grio

Mississippi’s mostly white legislature has voted to implement a separate, appointed court system and expanded police force in its capital city, which has the highest percentage of Black residents of any major American hub. 

Even though the capital, Jackson, has an 80 percent Black population, white Republicans dominate the state’s Legislature, which they have completely redesigned over the past 30 years to pass any law without needing any Democratic votes, according to Mississippi Today.

Suppose House Bill 1020 is passed into law later this legislative session. If it is, the white chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court will designate two judges to preside over a new district that will encompass, among other regions, all of the city’s majority-white neighborhoods. 

Judges and prosecutors in the state’s municipalities and counties currently are elected by local residents. The appointments by state officials would replace such elections in Jackson and Hinds County, Mississippi Today reported.

The law passed the House on Tuesday 76-38, mostly along partisan lines, despite vehement and passionate opposition from Black members. All but one representative of the city of Jackson, Rep. Shanda Yates, a white independent, rejected the bill — which two Black members of the House supported.

For the new district, the white state attorney general would choose four prosecutors, four public defenders and a court clerk. The white state public safety commissioner would lead an expanded Capitol Police force, which is run now by a white chief.

The annual cost of the new court system is projected to be $1.6 million.

State Rep. Trey Lamar, a Republican from Senatobia, 172 miles north of Jackson, authored the legislation he claims is an effort to make Jackson safer. Lamar focused on the significant backlog of cases in Hinds County courts and said that the law aims to “help, not hinder”…

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