NATIONAL NEWS

US judge condemns Mississippi city’s ‘crime cancer’ as he removes state justice from lawsuit

Jun 2, 2023, 12:58 PM

FILE - U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate smiles on Aug. 19, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. Wingate ruled T...

FILE - U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate smiles on Aug. 19, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. Wingate ruled Thursday, June 1, 2023, that the Mississippi chief justice cannot be a defendant in a lawsuit that challenges a state law dealing with appointed judges. Wingate cited the principle of judicial immunity, which prevents judges from being sued for most of their judicial acts. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court chief justice cannot be sued over a state law that requires him to appoint some judges in the capital city of Jackson, a federal judge wrote Thursday in a ruling that also condemned violence in the city.

U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate did not address residents’ constitutional rights in his ruling, saying he will do that later. But, Wingate wrote: “Jackson has a crime cancer.”

Wingate cited the principle of judicial immunity, which prevents judges from being sued for most of their official acts, as he removed Chief Justice Mike Randolph as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the national, state and local chapters of the NAACP.

“Chief Justice Randolph must be dismissed from this litigation, which still will continue with the remaining parties to address the constitutionality of H.B. 1020 as a whole,” Wingate wrote.

House Bill 1020, signed into law by Republican Gov. Tate Reeves in April, expands the territory of a state-run police department within the capital city of Jackson and creates a new court in part of Jackson with a judge appointed by the chief justice. It also requires the chief justice to appoint four temporary judges to serve with the four elected judges in Hinds County Circuit Court.

Reeves and legislative leaders said the law is intended to help curb crime. But, the NAACP and other critics say the creation of a new court and the appointment of judges by a white chief justice is a way for the majority-white and Republican-led Legislature to wrest local control from residents of Jackson and Hinds county, which are both majority-Black and governed by Democrats.

Wingate on May 22 issued an order that temporarily prevents the law from taking effect. Without indicating how he will rule later in the lawsuit, Wingate wrote that “Jackson’s crime problem is sweltering, undisputed and suffocating.”

He wrote that the city has high rates of homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, sexual assault and burglary.

“Caught in this ‘race to the grave’ are the most innocent — young children whose still developing lungs had barely tasted the nutritious air which was their birthright,” Wingate wrote. “On the other end of this ‘killfest’ are the senior citizens hoping to spend their golden years in retired harmony with family and friends, instead of outfitting their homes as fortresses.”

A separate lawsuit challenging the new law was filed in state court, with some Hinds County residents arguing that the appointment of judges dismissed the state lawsuit by ruling that appointing judges does not violate the Mississippi Constitution. Plaintiffs are appealing Thomas’ ruling to the state Supreme Court.

National News

Gov. Greg Abbott receives a briefing for Hurricane Beryl from local elected officials Sunday, July ...

Associated Press

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demands answers as customers remain without power after Beryl

DALLAS (AP) — With around 350,000 homes and businesses still without power in the Houston area almost a week after Hurricane Beryl hit Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said he’s demanding an investigation into the response of the utility that serves the area as well as answers about its preparations for upcoming storms. “Power […]

40 minutes ago

Associated Press

Acclaimed video artist Bill Viola dies at 73, created landmark `Tristan und Isolde’ production

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bill Viola, a video artist who combined with director Peter Sellars on a groundbreaking production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” originally seen in Los Angeles, Paris and New York, has died at age 73. Viola died Friday at his home in Long Beach of Alzheimer’s disease, his website announced. What […]

2 hours ago

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden tries to balance his condemnation of the attack on Trump with the ongoing 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland security and law enforcement officials were briefing President Joe Biden on Sunday about the apparent assassination attempt on his predecessor, Donald Trump, as the White House continued to call for national unity and condemn the stunning act of violence. Vice President Kamala Harris was joining Biden for an update from top […]

7 hours ago

FILE - President Ronald Reagan waves and then looks up before being shoved into the President's lim...

Associated Press

Reagan survived an assassination attempt and his response changed the trajectory of his presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The would-be assassin got off six shots in 1.7 seconds, nearly taking the life of a president and changing the trajectory of a presidency. It happened on a dreary March afternoon in 1981. President Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel after giving a speech to a union group when John […]

8 hours ago

A 150 million year old dinosaur skeleton is displayed at the Natural History Museum's new welcome c...

Associated Press

Gnatalie is the only green-boned dinosaur found on the planet. She will be on display in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest dinosaur being mounted at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles is not only a member of a new species — it’s also the only one found on the planet whose bones are green, according to museum officials. Named “Gnatalie” (pronounced Natalie) for the gnats that swarmed during the […]

9 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage by U.S. Sec...

Associated Press

What we know about the 20-year-old suspect in the apparent assassination attempt of Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The man identified as the shooter in the apparent assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump was a 20-year-old from a Pittsburg suburb not far from the campaign rally where one attendee was killed. Authorities say Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, opened fire at the rally before being killed by […]

9 hours ago

US judge condemns Mississippi city’s ‘crime cancer’ as he removes state justice from lawsuit