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Jefferson County Courts respond to COVID-19

Currently, the courts are only staying open for essential business only.

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(Jefferson County, Ind.) - In response to COVID-19 concerns, the Jefferson County courts are enacting continuity of operations which will change how they operate.

“Maintaining required court operations is important. The health and safety of our employees a community are equally important, therefore Jefferson County courts are adjusting the way we operate,” said the courthouse.

To date, there have not been any reported cases of COVID-19 according to the Indiana State Department of Health and the Jefferson County Health Department.

Currently, the courts are only staying open for essential business only. The courts have also added information regarding the changes of recently scheduled events which go as follows:

Jury Duty

Individuals who have received a jury summons should NOT report for jury duty at this time.

Litigants/Parties to a Case

Each case pending before the courts are important. However, under the circumstances, the courts must review each case to determine whether an emergency exists such that a hearing is absolutely necessary.

Individuals who are scheduled to appear in court for a civil matter from March 17, 2020, through May 17, 2020, should speak their attorney about the status of their case. If you are unrepresented, contact the court by phone at 812.265.8930 (Circuit Court) or 812.265.8914 (Superior Court) to determine if your hearing will proceed as scheduled.

If your attorney or the court instructs that you are to appear for a hearing, you should report to the main security entrance of the courthouse to check-in no later than 15 minutes prior to the hearing.

You may be required to answer specific questions about travel and/or exposure to COVID-19 Virus. You may also be required to submit to a temperature check and utilize appropriate sanitizer before you will be admitted to court.

Non-Parties or Members of the Public

Court proceedings are currently restricted to parties, attorneys, subpoenaed witnesses, and court staff. This is necessary given the relatively small size of our courtrooms which make social distancing impracticable, and to ensure the health of court staff and members of the public.

Probation and Court Ordered Services

Jefferson Circuit Court runs the Jefferson County probation department. Jefferson County Community Corrections is operated by the Indiana Department of Correction. If you are on court-ordered supervision, you are directed to contact your individual caseworker as to how you are to report.

Ind. Administrative Rule 17

Ind. Administrative Rule 17 describes the Indiana Supreme Court’s ability to oversee the local administration of trial courts in the event of any unanticipated work interruption. Trial courts can utilize the rule by petitioning the Supreme Court for emergency relief, if needed, based on local circumstances.

Jefferson County courts submitted a petition under this rule to the Supreme Court on March 16, 2020. The Supreme Court issued an order granting the petition. This Order is effective March 16, 2020, and, among other things, tolls statutory deadlines to allow our court system some flexibility in handling criminal and civil matters in a manner most likely to reduce the health risk to the parties, staff, and the general public. The Order is attached.

The Jefferson County courts are working with local emergency management and health departments, as well as the Supreme Court, to ensure we are taking the necessary steps in response to the virus while simultaneously ensuring due process and other rights for litigants are protected

 

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