2A News: December 9, 2016 Newsletter by Jeff Pittman
MS State Supreme Court (MSSC) Chief Justice William Waller has issued an order to judges in the 14th Chancery District to answer Rick Ward’s complaint filed with the MSSC after Lowndes County Chancery Court Senior Judge Dorothy Winston Colom issued an order (co-signed by the other two other judges in the 14th district, Kenneth M. Burns and H.J. Davidson, Jr.) in November, 2011, banning all firearms from the courtroom, courthouse, courthouse grounds and even 500 feet from the door of the courthouse, contrary to state law. The order applies to all courthouses within the 14th Judicial District which includes Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Webster Counties.
In May, 2016, Ward filed a Motion to Revise or Dismiss the chancery court’s order, but the court failed to respond to the motion. So Ward’s attorney contacted the court clerk and asked for a hearing. The court administrator advised Ward’s attorney that the judges had discussed the matter, apparently ex parte, and saw no reason to act, but a couple of weeks later Judge Colom issued an order, without a hearing, dismissing Ward’s Motion to Revise or Rescind her order, because Ward was not a resident of Lowndes County, had no daily business there, and was represented by a Harrison County attorney. (Local attorneys throughout the state are unwilling to challenge local judges before whom they might appear in other cases, because they think, apparently rightly, that the judges will illicitly retaliate.) Judge Colom further reiterated that Ward’s rights had not been violated citing that the court has the authority to issue “administrative rules.” But this rule violates statutory law and is enforced by law enforcement officers who indicated that violations would result in arrests.
In July, 2016, the MSSC entered Ward’s Petition for a Writ of Prohibition (Case # 2016-M-01072) to prohibit the lower courts from issuing these orders contrary to statutory law, and issued an order on December 2, 2016 to the chancery judges requiring them to answer the Petition for a Writ of Prohibition not later than January 7, 2017.
Complete copies of the complaint and the order may be viewed at: https://courts.ms.gov/appellate_courts/generaldocket.html by entering the case number or Ward’s first and last name in the General Docket area.
Attaboy, Rick. Continue Reading