The Tennessee Supreme Court’s suspension of in-person court proceedings has created backlog in the state judicial system, District Attorney Dan Armstrong said this morning.
Armstrong says he’s hopeful that regular court proceedings will resume by May 18, the next scheduled meeting of the Hamblen County grand jury. If the Tennessee Supreme Court has not authorized in-person court appearances by that time, Armstrong says he’ll ask for a waiver.
“We are going to dig a hole we can’t get out of if we don’t get back to normal operations,” Armstrong said.
The prosecutor says the Supreme Court’s decree, which came down before the governor’s stay-at-home order, caused delays in grand jury proceedings in Hawkins and Greene counties.
The order has also impacted the operations of Hamblen County’s busiest court, general sessions. Cases that were originally scheduled for April were continued until July. March’s cases were reset for July. An ample number of open court dates still exist for June, according to a court official.
The number of cases that must be rescheduled has dropped significantly during the coronavirus outbreak as fewer people have been arrested. This morning, the Hamblen County Jail held 206 inmates. In recent years, the jail routinely had more than 400 inmates.