Jackson, MS (WLBT) - Right now , thousands of impoverished Mississippians don't have access to our court system. And with the worsening economy, the bad news is that number could grow. That's why State Supreme Court Justice, Jess Dickinson and members of the Access to Justice Commission are asking lawmakers for help.
In Mississippi, two non-profit legal services programs handle more than 16,000 cases a year. But while the number of cases is growing, the amount of funds is decreasing. Justice Dickinson says that leaves many Mississippians living at or below poverty with no voice. "They don't have a lobbyist," said Justice Dickinson. "They don't have anyone speaking for them and so when a legal problem comes along they don't know a lawyer to call. They don't know a public official to call, they don't have any money to hire a lawyer so they just have to take it."
Legal services doesn't handle criminal cases. Most cases involve divorce or child custody, consumer matters and evictions and foreclosures.