Q Our justice court has a backlog of stale cases resulting from unserved warrants on various misdemeanor offenses from 1990 to 2014, in which the defendant has not been located after diligent search and inquiry. Does the court have the authority to dismiss these cases for lack of prosecution?

A The Mississippi Court of Appeals has described the power to dismiss an action for lack of prosecution as “part of a trial court’s inherent authority.” Whether or not dismissal for lack of prosecution in a particular case would be appropriate is a factual matter best determined by the court on a case-by-case basis. Prior to the court dismissing a case on its own motion, the court should provide notice to the prosecutor. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Kirk, April 5, 2019)