Mississippi judges have the power to delay trials, limit the number of spectators in courtrooms or take other steps to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, the leader of the state Supreme Court says in an emergency order.
Chief Justice Michael Randolph issued the order Thursday in response to the rapid spread of illness caused by highly contagious delta variant of the virus.
Mississippi has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation, and the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said Friday that 97% of new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi are among people who are unvaccinated.
Randolph’s order said judges may postpone jury trials that are scheduled through Sept. 10. In addition to limiting the number of spectators in courtrooms, judges may require people to wear masks and maintain distance between each other. The order encouraged courts to use teleconferencing and videoconferencing, when possible.
Plea hearings in felony cases must still take place in person, but defendants and others in the courtrooms should wear masks and maintain social distancing.
“Any in-person proceedings shall be limited to attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers, members of the press and other necessary persons, as determined by the trial judge,” Randolph wrote.
The Supreme Court is making it harder for noncitizens who are authorized to live permanently in the United States to argue they should be allowed to stay in the country if they've committed crimes.
The decision Thursday split the court 5-4 along ideological lines. The decision came in the case of Andre Barton, a Jamaican national and green card holder. In 1996, when he was a teenager, he was present when a friend fired a gun at the home of Barton's ex-girlfriend in Georgia. And in 2007 and 2008, he was convicted of drug possession in the state.
His crimes made him eligible to be deported, and the government sought to remove him from the country in 2016. Barton argued he should be eligible to stay. Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted in his opinion for the court's conservatives that it was important that Barton's 1996 crime took place in the first seven years he was admitted to the country.
Kavanaugh wrote that “when a lawful permanent resident has amassed a criminal record of this kind,” immigration law makes them ineligible to ask to be allowed to stay in the country.
appeared in court on charges of attempted murder.
The Metropolitan Police force says 29-year-old Salih Khater faces two charges — attempting to kill police officers, and attempting to kill members of the public. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday.
During a six-minute hearing, he confirmed his name, date of birth and address. Khater, who is originally from Sudan, also confirmed he was British. He made no application for bail and was remanded in custody.
Three people were injured when Khater allegedly hit a group of cyclists before colliding with security outside Parliament last week.
The crash came less than 18 months after an attacker plowed a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.
Zimbabwe's president says people are free to approach the courts if they have issues with the results of Monday's election, which he carried with just over 50 percent of the vote.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke to journalists shortly after opposition leader Nelson Chamisa called the election results manipulated and said they would be challenged in court. Chamisa received 44 percent of the vote but says his supporters' own count gave him 56 percent.
Mnangagwa is praising the vote as free and fair despite the opposition concerns and those of international election observers who noted the "extreme bias" of state media and the "excessive" use of force when the military cracked down on opposition protesters in the capital on Wednesday.
The president also is looking forward to his inauguration, saying that under the constitution it should happen nine days after election results are declared.
Zimbabwe's president is praising "a free, fair and credible election, as we have always promised" and "unprecedented flowering of freedom and democracy in our beloved homeland" even as the opposition loudly rejects the results.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke shortly after opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said Monday's peaceful election had been manipulated and said the results would be challenged in court.
Mnangagwa, a former enforcer of longtime leader Robert Mugabe, has tried to recast himself as a voice of change. He is calling the deadly violence against opposition supporters in the capital on Wednesday "unfortunate" and says Chamisa has a crucial role to play in Zimbabwe's future.