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Fifth Circuit makes way for CCID court...

Fifth Circuit makes way for CCID court in Jackson

By: Sarah Ulmer - January 5, 2024

The three-judge panel ruled that nothing has been taken away from Jackson’s local governing authority with the creation of the temporary court.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld District Judge Henry Wingate’s ruling to deny a preliminary injunction sought by the NAACP against the creation of a temporary court in Jackson’s Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID).

The three-judge panel denied the emergency motions for an injunction pending the appeal. The Fifth Circuit also ended an administrative stay that was placed on the CCID Court’s implementation, which was originally set for January 1. That stay had prolonged the implementation until January 5 at noon.

The judicial panel found that assuming the court would be “less accountable” relative to other courts in the area does not indicate that groups have suffered actual and imminent injury to interests protected by the Constitution.

“The challenged legislation creates a new CCID court, staffed with a newly appointed judge and newly appointed prosecutors. Plaintiffs have not shown that H.B. 1020 alters or affects — in any way — the method of appointment for any municipal court in Jackson. Nothing has been taken away from Jackson’s local governing authority,” said the panel.

The CCID court was created by the Mississippi Legislature in 2023 with the intent of aiding Hinds County in clearing its backlog in the prosecution of cases as the city continues to face high crime rates. The court would serve on a temporary basis with an appointed judge from the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court and two appointed prosecutors by the Attorney General’s office.

The court would oversee rulings within the CCID, which is also set to expand to cover a 24 square mile area in the city. Companion legislation was also passed to increase the Capitol Police’s jurisdiction in the area.

The Mississippi conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as others, took part in the filing to block the court. They argued that the court would violate voting rights of Jackson residents, who are majority black, since the judge and prosecutors would be appointed.

Ultimately, the Fifth Circuit, similar to Judge Wingate, disagreed and ruled that the legislation does not take away Jackson’s existing powers. Hinds County’s existing courts will function as they always have despite the new court.

“In sum, plaintiffs fail to plead a cognizable injury-in-fact and thus lack standing to assert their claims. Without standing, they cannot obtain an injunction,” said the Fifth Circuit.

The panel did not agree with the NAACP argument that the court would primarily benefit the white population of the city.

In December, Judge Wingate had dismissed the preliminary injunction on the court district. He also ordered Chief Justice Mike Randolph be removed as a defendant since the justice is only acting in his official capacity at the order of the Legislature.

“I am pleased by the Fifth Circuit’s decision to affirm Judge Wingate’s ruling allowing the CCID court to go into effect,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “This decision will help improve public safety and attract investment in our capital city. This allows us to take another step forward together for a safer and better Jackson – for all its residents.”

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: