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KY Supreme Court restricts court proceedings for social distancing

Dennis Loy, Adair County Circuit Clerk, sends the following information from Chief Justice Minton, who on Thursday issued guidance cancelling or postponing the majority of in-person court appearances from Monday, March 16, 2020, until Friday, April 10, 2020.

By Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr.

On March 6, 2020, Governor Beshear entered Executive Order 2020-215 and declared a State of Emergency in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency in the Commonwealth. In light of this measure and to protect the health and safety of court employees, elected officials, and the general public, and under Section 116 of the Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 1.010, the Supreme Court hereby ORDERS the following measures to be implemented from Monday, March 16, to Friday, April 10, 2020:

  • 1. With the exception of emergency matters, domestic violence hearings, and evidentiary hearings in criminal cases, all in-person appearances for civil and criminal dockets shall be canceled. Judges are encouraged to use telephonic or video technology for all necessary hearings, including arraignments and mental health hearings.

  • 2. All civil trials, hearings, and motions shall be postponed and rescheduled for a later date. Any civil trial or hearing currently in progress shall be continued or completed at the discretion of the presiding judge.

  • 3. Reasonable attempts shall be made to reschedule all criminal trials, subject to a defendantís right to a speedy trial.

  • 4. With the exception of emergency matters and hearings statutorily required to be held, small claims, eviction, juvenile, probate, traffic, and guardianship cases shall be continued.

  • 5. Courtroom attendance shall be limited to attorneys, parties, and necessary witnesses.

  • 6. A case involving an attorney or party who is ill or in a high-risk category shall be rescheduled.

  • 7. Judges shall issue summonses in lieu of bench warrants or notices of failure to appear.

  • 8. All show cause dockets for payment of fines and court costs scheduled within this timeframe shall be continued for 60 days.

  • 9. The 20-day preliminary hearing requirement for out-of-custody defendants under RCr 3.10 is waived during the effective dates of this Order.

  • 10. Jurors who are ill, caring for someone who is ill, or in a high-risk category shall have their jury service postponed to a later date.

  • 11. New juror orientations shall be suspended.

  • 12. Existing jury panels may be extended at the discretion of the court.

  • 13. Attorneys are encouraged to use e-Filing.

  • 14. Drop boxes should be used for conventionally filed documents if available.

  • 15. Signage shall be posted at all public entry points advising individuals not to enter the building if they have:
    • a. Visited China, Iran, South Korea, any European countries, or any other high-risk countries identified by the CDC in the previous 14 days;
    • b. Resided with or been in close contact with someone who has been in any of those countries within the previous 14 days;
    • c. Traveled domestically within the United States where COVID-19 has sustained widespread community transmission;
    • d. Been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital, or health agency;
    • e. Been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; or
    • f. A fever, cough or shortness of breath.

  • 16. Individuals attempting to enter in violation of these protocols shall be denied entrance by a bailiff or court security officer.

  • 17. Bailiffs shall discourage congregating outside courtroom doors and encourage social distancing inside the courtroom.

  • 18. Individuals with legitimate court business who are ill, caring for someone who is ill or in a high-risk category are advised to stay home and request a continuance by calling the local Office of Circuit Court Clerk.

Nothing in this Order shall preclude the chief district and chief circuit judges from implementing additional local restrictions as needed. This Order shall be effective from March 16, 2020, to April 10, 2020, or until further Order of this Court.

This story was posted on 2020-03-15 10:13:54
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