The guest was presiding Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, Judge Bill Waller Jr. The purpose was that he was the guest speaker for a special meeting of the East Central Mississippi Regional Bar Association.
For Judge Waller this was one of just about three other informational sessions that he's conducted throughout the state. The main purpose for the sessions is to keep attorneys informed on changes concerning state laws. For example, three years ago the state supreme court began broadcasting it's oral arguments on the Internet where anyone can log on to view. Not only that, but just last year, the high court approved a measure allowing limited cameras in the courtroom on the local trial level. Both efforts, Justice Waller says, are helping to improve the judicial process overall.
"If the public can see it then maybe the court process will be less mysterious and maybe they'll be more interested in participating as jurors or witnesses when needed in the process," says Justice Waller.
Another goal of the court is becoming more efficient, something that Waller says it is doing.
"We're on track. Back in 1996 it was not unusual for cases to be pending for three or four or five years. And now most of our cases are solved within 270 days which is our mandate."
Another issue pending before the court is stiffening regulations for attorneys who advertise. Waller says the court is now looking at requiring all attorneys who do this to tell where they are located in their ads. A regulation, which he says could be in place within the next 90 days.