Anderson County courts announced on Monday that they will suspend in-person appearances and cases, with certain exceptions, starting Wednesday and continuing until early January.
The suspension of those in-person appearances and cases due to COVID-19 was announced by county judges, the district attorney general, district public defender, and child support magistrate.
The exceptions to the suspension of in-person hearings include “important emergency hearing exceptions or constitutionally-mandated processes such as the setting of bail and arraignment of those in custody,” according to a press release from the judicial officials. The courts will remain open for any constitutionally required function, and exceptions to the suspension of in-person business could include matters that are urgent or involve important rights such as personal liberty, the press release said.
The other in-person appearances and cases will be suspended after the close of business Wednesday, December 9, through January 4, 2021.
“As our Supreme Court has noted in its orders on the subject of COVID-19, the operations of our courts are to serve the public and the rights of individuals coming before the courts,” the press release said. “Our courts across the state of Tennessee have had to balance the need to provide an important public service with the public health consequences to the state and those coming before the courts during a public health crisis. Our Supreme Court has had to consider the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust court operations as community spread and other public health considerations have changed over time.
“Our courts here in Anderson County are no different. The rate of infection in the community, protecting the capacity of our local health care systems, the potential spreading of the virus among the public as the result of court appearances, and the potential direct health consequences to all concerned that are appearing or working in our courts must be balanced against the need for court hearings.”
The suspension until January 4 could be modified by further orders of the courts. Cases and matters currently scheduled before January 4 will be continued until after that time, the press release said.
The press release was signed by Anderson County Chancellor M. Nichole Cantrell, Criminal and Circuit Court Judge Donald R. Elledge, General Sessions Judge (Division I) Don Layton, General Sessions Judge (Division II) Roger Miller, Juvenile Court Judge Brian Hunt, Child Support Magistrate Josephine Clark, District Attorney General Dave Clark, and District Public Defender Ann Coria.