Good news for the public and media: Federal courts in North Mississippi have the go-ahead to let reporters bring laptop computers and cell phones into the courthouses, at each presiding judge's discretion.
We haven't been able to do that, under some court prohibitions dating back several years ago, although attorneys were free to come and go with laptops and cell phones.
Apparently, local rules for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi have been amended, effective Dec. 1, but until that time Chief Judge Michael Mills has posted a standing order allowing each presiding judge "to relax or modify" prohibitions about the equipment.
That's great news.
You probably would laugh to see me "take off" from a courtroom immediately after a verdict to run out to my car, get my cell phone out and call our NeMS360.com guy with the update. It's also incredible to take notes like mad all day and then not be able to write anything workable until you can leave the courthouse at the end of the day because your laptop is in the car, too.
Progress, for sure. It also means you readers will be able to get news faster, in some instances, even as it happens.
Thanks, Judge Mills and others.
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One more word as we wrap up the Cliff Hardy v. Tupelo lawsuit. As you probably know, the jury found for Hardy and awarded him $300,000 in actual and compensatory damages.
That breaks down into $100,000 for lost wages and $200,000 for mental anguish.
Hardy said, as he got ready to leave court after a week-long trial, he was ready to kick back, spend some time with his family and find out how it felt to be "normal" again.
If the city goes through with an appeal to the 5th Circuit, it's likely to face many more thousands of dollars in legal fees and Hardy's attorneys will have to do the same.
Maybe somebody new at City Hall will decide it's a good idea just to cut their losses, avoid more lawyer fees, pay Hardy and move on without dragging this baggage along for another couple of years.
I'd suspect the good men and women at Tupelo Police Department would like to turn a new page, too. They have a job to do and don't need any more distractions.
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More Internet chatter about what's really going on with the U.S. Attorney selection for the Northern District. Reliable sources continue to peg Oxford defense attorney Christi R. McCoy as Obama's nominee, despite talk her candidacy has run into trouble.
They also say Natchez attorney, Deborah McDonald, will get the Southern nod.
Some folks close to this say the McCoy "problem" is hog-wash and just wishful thinking about some people who don't want to see McCoy get the job.
Potential rival, Asst. U.S.Atty. Curtis Ivy Jr., apparently has been making the rounds in Washington to bolster his interests in the job.
Guess we'll see soon what's going to happen, especially if the U.S.Atty. nominations head to the Senate before the August recess, as some have suggested.
And, think about it, Obama and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel are no political dummies.
Why would they pick two black U.S.Attys for Mississippi?
They've got the Democrat vote. They want to succeed with Independents since they aren't likely to make any GOP inroads.
One U.S.Atty. of each race would make more sense, you'd think.
Stay tuned as the suspense mounts for everybody who cares about this. It's pretty much an insider's kind of thing, though.
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I'm heading home for my favorite day of the week: Friday Night.
Next week looks pretty open, but with courts and politics, nothing is impossible.
Come back to "From the Front Row" for more on more.
And keep readin' ... Patsy