In-Person and Virtual Hearings
TO: Court Stakeholders
FROM: Honorable Gary B. Bashor, Presiding
DATE: August 17, 2021
RE: In-Person and Virtual Hearings
Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Court has worked diligently to make decisions that emphasized the safety of everyone involved. Whether it be the enhanced cleaning protocols, social distancing requirements or the wearing of masks, all have been intended to keep you and others safe. As you may be aware, the pandemic is surging in our local community .According to health officials, we are currently recording a positive case rate of 601.8 per 100,000 residents; our positivity rate has grown from 14.8 % positive rate last December to 22.3% as of July 28th as declining numbers of residents are being tested; our current hospitalization rate is double the statewide average and 8th highest of all 39 counties in the State; about 96% of cases through July 31, and 100% of deaths in people age 18-49 through June, were among people who were not fully vaccinated.
To that end, we have suspended jury trials for the rest of this month. We will be monitoring infection rates weekly and extend the suspension further if needed. In addition, we have submitted another emergency order that modifies our operations.We have had a number of people that have been confused by the order and what it means for all other hearings. This memo is intended to clear up any confusion. We will also complete another emergency order intended to more clearly articulate these changes.
The following changes are being implemented:
- All jury trials are suspended at least through the end of the month,
- The criminal plea docket on Wednesday will remain in person. If you desire to appear virtually, you will need judicial approval (submit email to judicial officer and court administration),
- Effective August 23, 2021, all other dockets will revert to virtual hearing format. If you feel a particular hearing needs to be in person, you will need judicial approval (submit email to judicial officer and include court administration), and
- If approved by the judicial officer, some bench trials may occur at the event center during this time period.
As always, we will be reviewing the data regularly and as circumstances change, we will adjust court operations accordingly. We will continue to keep you informed of any changes either through press releases, memos, our website or a combination of all.
Thank you for your continued diligence during this pandemic and all your work to keep providing access to the courts during this pandemic.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact court administration.