2023-01-30 23:15:09

State Capital Mayor: Plan for Separate Courts Is Apartheid

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U.S. News & World Report
By Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) Legislation that would create a separate court system run by unelected judges in part of Mississippis capital city is racially motivated, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said Monday.

At a Monday news conference, Lumumba excoriated several bills moving through the state legislature that would affect Jackson. He said the proposal by legislators from outside the 80% Black city to create a separate court system within its borders is colonialist and racist.

It reminds me of apartheid, Lumumba said. "They are looking to colonize Jackson. Not only in terms of putting their military force over Jackson but also dictating who has province over decision-making.

House Bill 1020, introduced by Rep. Trey Lamar, a Republican from Senatobia, would create a separate judicial district within an area around downtown Jackson called the Capitol Complex Improvement District, where many state-owned buildings are located.

Rather than being selected by city residents or elected officials, the new court system's judges would be appointed by the chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, and prosecutors would be appointed by the attorney general. The bill would also grant the courts exclusive jurisdiction over cases in which the state government is a party.

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