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Jury trials can resume in Warren County May 18

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Photo by Blogtrepreneur - Legal Gavel, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50979400)

Counties with two or fewer COVID-19 deaths can resume jury trials May 18, the Mississippi Supreme Court said in a ruling issued late Thursday. The ruling applies to 40 of the state’s 82 counties, including Warren County.

The state’s high court has issued continual guidance on judicial procedure throughout the pandemic.

“I have followed the Supreme Court’s orders and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations throughout this extraordinary time and I will continue to do so,” said Warren County Judge Marcie T. Southerland. “The jury trials that were scheduled in county court for April and May are now rescheduled over the next few months. Every precaution will be taken to ensure jurors’ safety, the parties’ safety, the witnesses’ safety, and of course, the safety of the court staff.”

Southerland has worked diligently to keep her courts functioning, especially youth court. She and other judges have made use of virtual meeting applications such as Zoom to conduct proceedings so that access to legal remedies has remained available to the public.

“The postponement of jury trials is creating a backlog within the judicial system. We have already had to cancel one grand jury which hampers the criminal justice system,” said Circuit Court Judge M. James Chaney in an email. “However, we are concerned about the safety of our citizens. We are monitoring the situation closely and, depending upon the circumstances, may be able to resume the criminal trials scheduled for June with implantation of appropriate safety measures.”

Under the ruling, counties with three or more COVID-19 deaths must wait until June 15 to issue jury summonses.

COVID-19

Reeves puts another 13 counties under mask mandates

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Gov. Tate Reeves during April 22 news conference. (Photo via video screen grab)

Tuesday, Gov. Tate Reeves announced 13 additional counties that have qualified and met certain requirements to be placed under mask mandates with his “Safe Recovery” executive order that is in effect until Dec. 11.

Those additional counties are: Adams, Amite, Coahoma, Franklin, Jefferson, Kemper, Monroe, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Quitman, Scott, Sunflower and Washington. A total of 54 of Mississippi’s 82 counties are now under mask mandates.

“I hope that people believe me when I say this is a time when the virus is extremely present,” Reeves said during a news conference streamed live on Facebook. “It is all around us right now, more than almost any time before. Please continue to be careful and safeguard yourself and your loved ones.”

A copy of the Executive Order can be found here.

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Crime

Handgun stolen in auto burglary

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A handgun was stolen in an auto burglary Monday in Vicksburg.

Monday, Nov. 30, at 10:34 a.m. officers took a report in reference to an auto burglary that occurred at 3133 Washington St.

The victim reported someone stole a SCCY 9-mm handgun from his 2000 GMC Sierra.

If you have any information about this incident, please call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511.

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Crime

Shooting suspect turns herself in

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Devona Jackson (photo courtesy VPD)

The suspect in a Nov. 25 shooting turned herself in to Vicksburg police investigators Monday.

Devona Jackson, 36, of Vicksburg, was charged with one count of shooting into an unoccupied vehicle in connection with an altercation at the Smoke Break convenience store, 1217 Cherry St., on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Jackson was arraigned in the Vicksburg Municipal Court, where Judge Angela Carpenter set her bond at $15,000 and bound her over to the Warren County grand jury.

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