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MS Supreme Court issues new Emergency Administrative Order related to COVID-19

On August 5, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued an Emergency Administrative Order related to COVID-19.

The new order considered the previous circumstances and rescinded a majority of provisions from earlier orders.

Due to the Delta variant of the virus, Dr. Paul Byers reported to the Court of the increased transmission rate of the new strain being three times more than the Alpha variant.

The unvaccinated in Mississippi account for the majority of confirmed infections, hospital visits and deaths, according to Byers.

The Mississippi State Department of Health is continuing to encourage those who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated to help protect against severe symptoms and maximize protection against the virus.

Due to the evolving nature of the virus, the new order will supersede the previous orders. Some provisions in the new order include:

  • All local and state courts will remain open to administer justice “without sale, denial, or delay.”
  • Judges have discretion to control their own dockets and are encouraged to refer to guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health.
  • Courts are encouraged to limit in-person contact as much as possible by leveraging technologies such as video conferencing.
  • The rule 1.8(c) of the Mississippi Roles of Criminal Procedure, “[ a ]ppearance by interactive audiovisual equipment, including video conferencing, may be permitted in the discretion of the court at any proceeding except that this Rule shall not apply to any trial, probation violation hearing, or any felony plea and/or sentencing.” is temporarily suspended, permitting the use of “interactive audiovisual equipment” for probation violation hearings, felony-plea hearings and felony-sentencing hearings.
  • If remote technologies are unavailable or feasible, certain in-person proceedings can continue to be conducted by the courts.

The full order can be found here.