The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended most in-person proceedings Friday, except for some exceptions, in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
In Hamblen County, County Mayor Bill Brittain said court had been suspended and several court cases have been rescheduled.
“The judges don’t have any choice, they have to follow this Supreme Court order from the state,” said County Mayor Bill Brittain.
Hamblen County General Sessions Court Division I and II, Juvenile Court, Circuit and Criminal courts are suspended until April 1.
General Session Division I cases, involving persons currently in jail, will continue in court as scheduled because they are one of the exceptions in the court order, Brittain said. However, only essential personnel will be allowed into the courtroom, such as attorneys and clerks, Brittain said. Family will not be allowed in the courtroom, he said.
There will be no trials conducted until the end of March.
The following cases have been rescheduled: March 16 have been rescheduled to April 13; all cases for March 17 are rescheduled for April 14; court cases on March 18 will be rescheduled to April 15 and March 19 court cases will be reschedule for April 16. Cases set for March 30 will be conducted on April 20 and March 31 cases have been rescheduled for April 21.
There will be order of protection court on March 27.
Jefferson County Circuit Court was scheduled to meet this week however Circuit Court Clerk Kevin Poe said the court cases will be re-scheduled for the future, and all court dates will be reflected on the dockets posted at jeffersoncircuit.com.
Defendants who have a court date within the suspension period should stay in contact with their attorney.
“All members of the Jefferson County Justice Center are working together to provide creative solutions to guarantee that your Justice System continues to function efficiently while following state guidelines to mitigate exposure to COVID-19,” Poe said.
The order includes exceptions including proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants, such as bond-related matters for incarcerated individuals. In Cocke County, initial appearances will be handled by teleconference according to Administrative Deputy Captain CJ Ball.
“This is new territory for everyone,” Chief Bivins said. “We encourage judges, court clerks, attorneys, law enforcement, and others to work together to develop creative solutions that work for their individual jurisdictions. The goal is to limit the number of people coming into court each day while continuing to meet our duty and administer justice.”
Also beginning Friday, only those with business in the Cocke County courthouse were allowed entry to the facility.