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Hinds County considering appealing contempt order in jail takeover case to Fifth Circuit

Raymond Detention Center
Raymond Detention Center(WLBT)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - About a month after asking a federal judge to toss the second contempt order handed down in the Hinds County jail takeover case, county leaders are considering appealing the case to a higher court.

Monday, attorneys for the county filed a notice that it could appeal the contempt findings to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The decision comes about two months after District Court Judge Carlton Reeves issued a second contempt order against the county for failing to comply with its jail consent decree, and about a month after the county asked the court to reconsider.

“Defendants recognize there remains a pending motion for consideration... that motion is under review by the court, and the court has neither decided that motion nor ordered a remedy related to the second order,” attorneys for the county wrote.

“They file this notice out of an abundance of caution to protect their right to appeal.”

In April, the county was handed a major victory, when Reeves issued an order in the case reducing the consent decree and putting in place a new injunction to address continued issues related to staffing, safety, and living conditions at the Raymond Detention Center.

Some uncertainty with the case remains, though, with the judge saying in his 149-page ruling that the county would face consequences for failing to comply with its previous consent decree.

Reeves did not indicate what consequences the county could face.

Hinds County entered into the decree in 2016 to bring the jail into compliance with U.S. Department of Justice standards. After failing to do so, in 2020, a stipulated order was issued, basically giving local leaders one more chance to address concerns at the county’s correctional facilities.

A show-cause order was issued in 2020 after seven deaths at RDC were reported and after court-appointed monitors continued to outline compliance issues.

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