Taney County Courts are opening up a bit more after having had no more positive exposures or test results in the past two weeks.
Presiding Judge Jeff Merrell noted in a news release that the judicial center has been operating under Phase One for the past 14 days due to a positive COVID-19 exposure in September.
Starting this week, the judicial center will continue operating in Phase Two until a future Administrative Order is entered. The circuit court remains open, but court business will be conducted different than normal while in Phase Two.
Occupancy levels are still being limited as much as possible, and masks are required for everyone entering the judicial center, per Merrell.
As long as social distancing can be safely observed, more in-person court hearings will be scheduled. The judicial center is re-setting fewer non-critical court matters. If someone needs information on rescheduling a case due to personal health concerns, contact their attorney and file a motion for continuance or if unrepresented, call the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office at 417-546-7230.
Judges are continuing to conduct criminal hearings with inmates from jail by video and are now resuming most criminal hearings where defendants are out of custody.
Court security staff are still screening people trying to enter the judicial center using a digital infrared body non-contact thermometer to test people attempting to enter the facility.
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“In some cases, people can be told their respective case has been re-scheduled, and in others, a determination can be made whether or not the matter is actually essential or necessary,” the news release stated. “This helps to allow our courts to accommodate the processing of essential business while limiting potential dangers of exposure to numerous people.”
No jury trials are scheduled for the next two weeks. Some cases are still being handled via phone, video or other non-contact means. Court staff have returned to normal work schedules, while some with specific risk concerns are staying or working from home.
Municipal courts in Branson, Hollister and Forsyth are continuing court hearings for Phase Three.
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