The appearance dates for defendants whose cases were set for Hamblen County General Sessions Court through March 31 have been changed. The continuances come as a result of a Tennessee Supreme Court order to discontinue all in-person court appearances.

The calendar modifications apply only to defendants who are free on bond. Those who remain incarcerated will be video-arraigned as previously scheduled.

The former and rescheduled dates to appear in general sessions court are: today, March 18 to April 15; March 19 to April 16; March 20 to April 17; March 30 to April 20; and March 31 to April 21.

Tonya Thornton, assistant district attorney for the Fourth Judicial District, updated resets in Cocke County Circuit Court for defendants who are free on bond.

The court date for those whose cases are set for March 23 will be moved to May 4. Cases scheduled for March 24 will be continued until May 5, unless defense attorneys say otherwise.

All jury trials are postponed and will be reset at a later date. Any defendant that is in jail and whose case is set for the 23rd or 24th will be heard, if possible, on those days unless reset by the defense attorney prior to court, or if defendants are being held in a detention facility other than the Cocke County Jail.

If the defendant is housed in another jail or prison, their case will be reset and dates will be announced during court. If defendants have a case set for court, they you should contact their attorneys soon to confirm the reset date and to prepare for that court appearance, according to Thornton.

Those set to appear in Hawkins County General Sessions Court during the court shutdown should call 423-272-3300, option 3, to learn their new court date.

Cocke County General Sessions and Juvenile Judge Brad Davidson on Tuesday announced new measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In an effort to comply with a recent Supreme Court ruling, and in the best interest of the community, Davidson met with several local officials and as a result, new policy and procedures for the court and courthouse were immediately implemented:

- No one with a fever is to report to work or will be allowed in the courthouse.

- Only one public access entrance into the courthouse is available. The northside entrance is monitored by sheriff’s department personnel who will limit access to only those needing to conduct business.

- Court clerks will reset all civil and traffic cases for May and bridge order of protection hearings. A letter will be mailed to defendants with a new court date.

- Criminal and juvenile cases that must be heard will be held one at a time with a limited number of people in the courtroom.

- The courthouse will remain open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday.

- Davidson will communicate with the jail via Skype to conduct video arraignments.

- The jail will provide inmates the ability to communicate via Skype with their attorney.

- Probationers should remain in contact with their probation officer who will advise if an appearance is necessary in court and if the probationer can report by phone.

In Cocke County Circuit Court next week, Judge Carter Moore will hear the cases of defendants who are in jail on Monday, March 23. There will be no court cases on Tuesday, March 24. The cases of those defendants who are free on bond will be re-set and those defendants should contact their attorney.