Monday, January 6, 2020
There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them:
- Civil rights attorney and avowed criminal-justice reformer Jody Owens officially took over as the new Hinds County district attorney, succeeding the controversy-plagued Robert Shuler Smith, who served eight years.
- Three more Mississippi prisoners have died at the hands of other inmates in the six days since the Mississippi Department of Corrections initiated a statewide prison lockdown last Sunday, bringing the week's death toll to four.
- Lt. Gov.-elect Delbert Hosemann will not consider raising gas taxes statewide in 2020, he told the press on Dec. 17. But he is opening the door for county supervisors to pass their own local tax raises.
- On Dec. 26, Jackson Police Department Chief James Davis announced a new task force aimed at curbing gun violence in Jackson called "Operation Targeting Gun Violence." Since its launch Dec. 9, the task force has made 82 arrests, he said.
- Though Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant vowed to appeal a 15-week abortion ban to the U.S. Supreme Court, Attorney General Jim Hood asked for all 17 judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hold a re-hearing of the case instead.
- Guatemalan Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini called for a renewed humanity in the nation’s treatment of immigrants in Jackson last month before going to Carthage to meet people affected by massive, statewide Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids in August.
- U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is joining other anti-abortion politicians who are increasingly prioritizing legislative efforts designed to restrict access to federally approved abortion medication.
- Earlier this year, Mississippi House Rep. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, told the Jackson Free Press that part of the goal of bills like the heartbeat bill and the 15-week ban is to get a case to the Supreme Court.
- Paul Houser is one of 2,635 Mississippians currently serving lengthy prison terms under Mississippi's so-called "habitual laws," the state's version of "three strikes laws." Mississippi's habitual laws drive the state's high incarceration rate, the third highest in the country.
- As a congressman today at 79, John Lewis is facing a foe like none before: advanced pancreatic cancer . He announced recently in Washington that the cancer was detected earlier this month and confirmed in a diagnosis.