21 Apr Governor Reeves Has Chosen to Ignore the Will of the Voters, says Mississippi Center for Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: April 21, 2023
Press Contact: Mandesha Thornton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor Reeves Has Chosen to Ignore the Will of the Voters, says Mississippi Center for Justice
Jackson, Miss. — Today, Governor Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1020 into law. The new CCID Court will be operated solely by judges appointed by the chief justice of Mississippi’s Supreme Court, granting the CCID jurisdiction throughout the entire City of Jackson.
As passed, HB 1020 will create one Capital Complex Improvement District Court (CCID) with jurisdiction over traffic offenses, ordinance violations, and preliminary felony matters in addition to adding four temporary Special Judges appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice. Two Assistant Deputy Attorneys will be chosen by the Hinds County DA.
In response, Vangela M. Wade, President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice, said the following:
“With the signing of this bill, Governor Tate Reeves has chosen to ignore the will and echoing calls of Jackson voters to strike down, polarizing and likely unconstitutional, House Bill 1020. This legislation strips Jackson residents from the ability to hold law enforcement, judges and prosecutors accountable for their actions and sows confusion within our already complicated judicial system,” said Vangela M. Wade, President & CEO, Mississippi Center for Justice. “Today we witnessed a dangerous progression toward disenfranchising Black voters and disregarding the will of the people including legislators elected by Jackson and Hinds County voters. This gross overreach and unprecedented power-grab exists only for Hinds County, a majority Black County with a majority Black electorate.
Mississippi has a long history of silencing voters and creating a system of injustice meant to keep Mississippians– particularly low-income and Black citizens, voiceless and in a cycle of debilitating poverty. It is the right of the people to choose officials that are elected and held accountable to the voters. Today, Governor Tate Reeves has pushed Jackson’s voting electorate further away from being able to hold those in power accountable.
The Mississippi Center for Justice is considering its next steps, which may include filing a lawsuit. We continue to stand with the citizens of Jackson and Hinds County and their duly elected leaders.”
“Radically expanding the jurisdiction and authority of the Capitol Police, which has a history of opaque, unaccountable violence, is dangerous and will only exacerbate the over-policing of Black people,” said Blake Feldman, Impact Policy Counsel and Project Coordinator at the Mississippi Center for Justice. “The residents of Jackson and Hinds County do not want an unaccountable state police force and unelected judges. If state leaders are serious about creating a safer Jackson, they should invest in the things we know make communities safer: affordable housing, good-paying jobs, access to healthcare, and quality education.”
The Mississippi Center for Justice is dedicated to dismantling the state’s culture of inequity and injustice. Supported and staffed by attorneys and other professionals, the Center develops and pursues strategies to combat discrimination and poverty statewide.