The Mississippi judicial branch and its executive and legislative branches ensure the administration of justice within the state's jurisdiction. The branch comprises several state courts, and the state also plays host to federal courts with jurisdiction over federal cases and federal appellate courts, which hear appeals from the state's highest court.
Mississippi's court system consists of eight levels of courts, with the Appellate Courts at the top of the hierarchy.
The appellate courts review decisions from the lower courts. The lower appellate court is the Court of Appeals. This court hears cases assigned to it by the Supreme Court, which is the highest appellate court. It also contests the decisions of the lower courts where the facts of cases are established. The Court of Appeals began hearing cases in 1995 when the Mississippi Legislature created it to relieve the burden of the Supreme Court. The Mississippi Court of Appeals has 10 judges, including the Chief Judge, who the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints. These judges are elected through a staggered non-partisan election to serve for eight years.
Each trial court, district court, and federal court in the state operates an administrative office that generates and maintains Mississippi court records. These records are available to members of the public per Mississippi statute and provide an official account of each judicial proceeding.
What is the Mississippi Supreme Court?
The Mississippi Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state. It was established by the 1832 Constitution created the High Court of Errors and Appeals. In 1869, an amendment to the Constitution renamed it the Supreme Court of Mississippi. The court has the final decision on all cases, and its judgment can only be appealed at the United States Supreme Court. Appeals of decisions where a lower court ordered capital punishment are brought directly to the Supreme Court. Also, disputes involving the interpretation of the constitution and disciplinary actions against judges or attorneys are appealed at the Mississippi Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reviews the decisions made by the Court of Appeals where necessary. The Mississippi Supreme Court has nine justices who serve for eight years and are elected in staggered non-partisan elections to avoid multiple vacancies. The longest-serving justice in the court is appointed as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Mississippi Municipal Courts?
The Municipal Courts in Mississippi have limited jurisdictions in the cities they are present. They have jurisdiction over disputes involving traffic violations and misdemeanors. They may also conduct preliminary hearings of felony cases before they are transferred to the grand jury. There are currently about 237 Municipal Courts in Mississippi. The Municipal Courts have jurisdiction over traffic offenses, municipal ordinances, and misdemeanors in their domain. There are currently about 237 Municipal Courts in Mississippi and are presided over by one judge each, although there are also some with more than one judge.
Mississippi Justice Courts?
The Mississippi Justice Courts try small claims disputes with values not exceeding $3,500. Justice Courts may also issue search warrants and conduct preliminary hearings for felonies. In Mississippi, 197 judges preside over cases brought to the 82 Justice Courts. These judges are elected in partisan elections and serve for four years each. The Justice Courts in Mississippi preside over small claims cases whose contested values are not more than $3,500. Misdemeanors and preliminary hearings of felonies are also brought before the Justice Courts. At present, the 82 Justice Courts in Mississippi are presided over by 197 judges.
Mississippi Youth Courts?
Disputes involving minors are heard in Youth Courts in Mississippi. Neglect and abuse of minors or offenses committed by children are some of the cases this court tries. Counties with County Courts have their judges presiding over Youth Courts, while counties without County Courts are assigned judges from the Chancery Court. The Chancery Court Judges may also appoint lawyers to act in their stead. The Youth Courts preside over disputes involving minors. Abuse or neglect of a minor and offenses committed by persons below the age of 18 are tried in the Youth Courts. In the 22 Mississippi counties where there are County Courts, their judges preside over the Youth Courts. For counties without County Courts, the Chancery Court judges hear matters involving minors or appoint lawyers to act in their stead.
Mississippi County Courts?
The County Courts in Mississippi share jurisdiction with Justice Courts and are not present in all the counties in the state. County Courts also assist the Chancery and Circuit Courts with an expeditious dispensation of justice. They hear civil cases with values not exceeding $200,000. Circuit Courts may also transfer criminal cases that do not involve the death penalty to County Courts. There are currently 22 County Courts in Mississippi with about 32 judges who serve a 4-year term. County Courts are not present in every Mississippi County. There are only about 22 of them. The County Courts hear disputes involving damages to personal properties, unlawful entry, and civil matters where the disputed amount does not exceed $200,000. Circuit Courts may also transfer criminal cases to County Courts, except those where capital punishment is being sought. About 29 judges who serve a four-year tenure preside over the County Courts.
Mississippi Chancery Courts?
The Mississippi Chancery Courts sit over cases involving the adoption of minors, wills, and divorces. In counties without County Courts, Chancery Courts sit over minor-related disputes. Mississippi has 20 Chancery Court Districts. The population in a district determines the number of Chancellors assigned to that district. About 48 Chancellors, serving four-year terms each, preside over Mississippi Chancery Courts. Chancery Courts have jurisdiction over disputes involving divorce, adoption, will, and adoption of minors. They also have jurisdiction over issues involving juveniles in counties where there are no County Courts.
Mississippi Circuit Courts?
The Circuit Courts in Mississippi have jurisdiction over civil suits with a value of over $200,000 and all criminal cases, including felonies. Mississippi has into 22 Circuit Court Districts, and about 51 judges preside over cases brought before the Circuit Courts. These judges are elected every four years in a nonpartisan election. Felonies and other criminal matters are also brought before the Mississippi Circuit Courts, alongside a 12-man jury. The circuit court judges are distributed across the 22 Circuit Court Districts in Mississippi.
Mississippi Court of Appeals?
The Mississippi Court of Appeals is an appellate court established in 1995. It was created by the State Legislature to ease the burden of the Mississippi Supreme Court. It reviews decisions from the lower courts. The Court of Appeals has ten judges elected from five different districts. The Supreme Court appoints a Chief Judge from these ten judges.
Mississippi Intervention Courts?
The Mississippi Intervention Courts are uncommon courts set up by the state to tackle certain excesses. The Drug Courts in Mississippi are examples of Intervention Courts. These courts were established to find ways of reforming juveniles and non-violent adult drug abusers. People with previous criminal convictions and those with pending charges are not accepted into the rehabilitation programs of the Drug Courts. These programs run between 12 to 36 months. Presently, there are about 44 Drug Intervention Courts in Mississippi. The least among Mississippi courts is the Intervention Court. Intervention Courts are not traditional courts. They are primarily set up to curb specific excesses among the residents of the state. Drug Courts are examples of Intervention Courts and are created for the rehabilitation of juveniles and non-violent drug addicts. The structure and scope of the Intervention Courts differ from county to county.
What are Appeals and Court Limits in Mississippi?
An appeal is an application to a higher court to review the decisions made by a lower court. To appeal civil cases, a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after the judgment has been given. After the notice has been filed, parties to the case will present their case to the court by filing briefs. The appellant files their briefing case, while the appellee files a responsive briefing. Rebuttal briefs from the appellant are sometimes received before the court makes its decision. Appealing criminal convictions follow the same process. Notice of appeals must be submitted within a 30-day time frame after the judgment at a lower court. It usually takes about 270 days for the completion of an appeal process. Some cases can be appealed directly to the Mississippi Supreme Court. These include cases where capital punishment has been ordered and disputes involving constitutional matters. The Supreme Court reserves the right to deny appeals on decisions made by the Court of Appeals. Filing appeals at the appellate courts are expensive. The clerk of the appellate courts fixes varying charges for appealing different cases.
How Do I Find My Case Number in Mississippi?
Case numbers, a set of unique numbers assigned to each case for identification, can be found if other information that can help court clerks locate a court record is available. Details such as names of parties involved, the court that tried the case, and the judgment that was given can facilitate a court record search. Application for court records held by the appellate courts can be submitted to the clerk’s office at:
First floor, Carroll Gartin Justice Building
450 High Street
Jackson, MS 39201
If the information provided by the requestor does not adequately describe the record of interest, finding the case number will be challenging, and such requests may be denied. Alternatively, inquirers can query the MEC remotely using other information to find a court case number.
Does Mississippi Hold Remote Trials?
The need to reduce personal contact at the courtrooms and prevent the spread of COVID-19 led to the approval of video conferencing for certain aspects of court proceedings. An order of the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended in-court proceedings and introduced technology for judicial practices. Electronic filing of cases was approved, as well as the use of video conferencing to obtain arrest and search warrants. It was also approved for felony plea hearings as the court continues to adapt to the current situation.