A utilization plan for September 1, 2020 through (most likely) the end of 2020 has been published by the Chief District Court Judge for District 29B (Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties). This plan continues to have a morning and afternoon session case limit of 25 per session for criminal cases.
Traffic cases represented by an attorney should be a little easier to have heard before the Court (as they are not required to be included in the traffic court session number limits) but we are still working though the logistics of scheduling with the District Attorney's office and Clerk's office.
The Clerk is continuing to send out re-calendaring notices and we do appreciate your forwarding those on to us! A double check for accuracy of our internal calendars and notices of hearings never hurts in this state of what seems like constant change in the scheduling of cases.
It is possible Superior Court jury trials may be scheduled to start back in November, 2020, but obviously being several months away it is hard to know for sure.
Again we appreciate your willingness to work with us. Please never hesitate to reach out to us with questions regarding your case!
We have some local guidance on how court in Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties will be scheduled for June and July. Up to 20 cases will be scheduled for court sessions, although some areas, like Juvenile Court, will be limited to 8 cases at a time with the larger court session broken down into smaller time blocks. Because of the dockets being so small we expect many clients will have their cases continued (perhaps multiple times) by the Clerk without appearing.
The Clerk is sending letters via U.S. mail with the new dates so please do not be concerned upon receiving one. If you have a chance and can share any letters you receive with us we would appreciate it! We continue to check the Clerk's system online daily as well.
Based upon the limited number of people, just two right now, allowed to ride in each elevator going up to the courtroom level after passing through security, please allow extra time.
So far it seems Bench Trials (trials in front of a Judge) may begin again in July, but Jury Trials will likely be delayed until August or further.
As always, we appreciate your patience as we all try to figure out how to navigate these new processes. It is important to us to provide both new and current clients the support they need in interacting with the legal system. Please never hesitate to give us a call!
North Carolina's Chief Justice has created a task force to help determine the best way to get the State's courts re-opened.
In an announcement on May 1st, Justice Beasley said court functions cannot remain “frozen in time” and plans need to be created to provide court services and protect health and safety. Although, she also said courts will not resume normal operation for several more months.
One thing is set, the rotation of superior court judges will be suspended for the fall term and all superior court judges will be assigned to their home districts. It still seems too early to say when superior court jury trials will begin again locally, from what guidance we have seen it will not be until July, in the most optimistic forecast.
Dockets (the number of cases assigned to a given court session) are likely to be much smaller than usual for distancing requirements to be met. Between that -- and the backlog created by missed court sessions in March, April and May -- clients may get word from us, or letters from the Clerk of Court, indicating their cases have been continued yet again to another date. We appreciate your patience with the repeated rescheduling notices.
Once again, although we have limited our in office presence, we are connected via technology and at the ready to assist and advise current and new clients. Please give us a call with questions, or to discuss your new case. We are here to help!
On April 2rd, North Carolina's Chief Justice issued a new order postponing most court proceedings until June 1, 2020. Exceptions, found in the March 13th order also, for bond hearings, probable cause hearings, and first appearances to continue remain in place.
The order extends time for payment for court debts in traffic cases and suspends reporting of failures to pay to the DMV.
You may receive a notice, or a second notice, that your court date has been rescheduled by the Clerk of Court. Please know we are keeping up with these changes as well. These extensions will not cost you any additional attorney fees. Ensuring our clients are not surprised regarding attorney billing is one of the reasons our firm uses flat fee pricing in most cases.
We continue to operate our office remotely. We are here for you, should you need to speak with us regarding your new or current matter. Please reach out to us with your questions our concerns at (828) 424-9859.
Across North Carolina, Offices of the Clerk of Court are getting updated court dates mailed out. Cases scheduled from March 16th until April 17th, 2020 are currently affected by the 30-day emergency order.
If you haven't received a letter from the Clerk, but would like to know if your court date has been moved you may use this website to check for an updated date. (Note: when searching Lastname,firstname there is no space after the comma.)
Our firm visits this site regularly and keeps our internal court schedule up to date. Please be assured any paperwork you have signed regarding a waiver of your physical presence at court is still valid for any rescheduled court dates.
On a different note, we received this directory of virtual Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Do you (or someone you know) need to visit an Alcoholics Anonymous group but are unable to go out? With a virtual meeting continued support to take it one day at a time can be accessed from your home.
As always, it is our goal to provide outstanding legal representation. We know it is a challenging and uncertain time. If there is something we can do to provide additional peace of mind regarding your new or current case, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The North Carolina Judicial System held a press conference on March 13th making announcements about operations of the court system in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
In general, most cases will be continued for no less than 30 days beginning on March 16th. No end date for the continuances has been announced. There are some exceptions – bond hearings, probable cause hearings, and first appearances will still continue. However, the Courts direct any person who has likely been exposed to COVID-19 to not enter the courthouse.
The statements made were general and we do not yet have specifics on when the continued court dates will be rescheduled—we will share this information with our clients on an individual basis as we have the details for each case. It may take some time for the Clerk’s Office to process the large numbers of changes that will be required. Please ensure we have your best contact information to keep you apprised of updates.
In light of directives from the Governor of NC regarding workplace safety our staff will begin working virtually on Monday, March 16th. We aim to make this move as seamless as possible for our clients.
We continue to be available to discuss new and current cases. We would prefer to speak by phone, if at all possible, because of current concerns. Thank you again for your patience in this uncertain and developing time.
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Serving Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania Counties