Kentucky Supreme Court puts court proceeding restrictions in response to coronavirus

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HAWESVILLE, Ky. (WEHT) The coronavirus is prompting new rules starting next week in courtrooms across Kentucky.

The state supreme court is ordering restrictions on what hearings will happen, and who will be allowed in them.

The measures, which run from next Monday to at least April 10th includes postponing in person appearances, trials and hearings, unless for emergency and time sensitive matters. Only lawyers, parties and witnesses will allowed to be inside. In custody arraignments will still happen.

“I think the Chief Justice made the correct call,” said Hancock County Circuit Court Clerk Michael Boling. He also says precautions and concerns of infections in a courtroom picked up the past few weeks. They started notifying people of changes to the court schedule.

“We pulled the dockets for the next four weeks. We have them scheduled ahead of time. We print them off and then we go through them one by one and send out a court notice to each person involved, or each party involved,” Boling explained.

New rules also include suspending new juror orientations, letting bailiffs discourage gatherings outside courtrooms and encourages e-filing and drop boxes for documents. State Public Advocate Damon Preston says he’s glad more precautions are being taken, but wants more done for those waiting behind bars.

“All of society is being told to exercise good hygiene and good social distancing practices. Our clients who are in jail have no option to do that. They are at the will of the people in the cell,”said Preston.

Summons instead of bench warrants will also be issued for those failing to appear during this period.

Read more about the new restrictions issued by the Kentucky Supreme Court from the Kentucky Courts website.

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(This story was originally published on March 13, 2020)

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