Some "essential" legal hearings to take place
Some court functions have been cancelled, according to a mandate from the 8th District Court covering Hopkins, Franklin, Rains and Delta Counties.
Until April 1, all court proceeding determined non-essential will be suspended in order to comply with recommendations from the Office of Court Administration regarding COVID-19 or coronavirus, according to a release from District Judge Eddie Northcutt.
Essential court functions include (but are not limited to)
- Criminal magistrate proceedings
- CPS removal hearings
- Temporary restraining orders
- Temporary injunctions
- Juvenile detention hearings
- Family violence protective orders
- Emergency guardianship
- Certain mental health proceedings
- Certain child custody issues
- Jail dockets for plea hearings
- Jail dockets for non-jury trials
Dockets set in the 8th District Court for the remainder of the month of March will work for a reset date in April or May, according to Northcutt's statement. According to Northcutt, those listed on the docket will not need to appear in court to have their date reset.
Those with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms are encouraged to contact a physician before appearing in court. Court hearings are open to the public, as stated by the Open Courts provision of the U.S. Constitution.
"This is a fluid situation and additional or prolonged measures may be needed," Northcutt stated. "Do not hesitate to contact the respective courts with questions or concerns."