Warren County Courthouse will reopen this Monday, June 1, with restrictions and changes.
“It’s going to be trial and error in the beginning,” said Circuit Court Clerk Casi Cantrell. “Hopefully what we are going to do will work and we can move forward. The longer we don’t have court, the further behind we get.”
Tennessee Supreme Court is allowing courts across the state to resume, as long as they meet specific COVID-19 guidelines such as no more than 10 people in the courtroom at a time plus court personnel.
Some General Sessions cases have been held the last couple of weeks as a test.
“Those worked out well,” said Cantrell. “We didn’t have a large docket, due to the fact that we’ve been taking care of all the inmates in the interim. We’ve been dealing with inmates via Zoom or by video arraignment. That worked out well.”
Beginning June 1, cases will be held in person.
“Going forward, we have worked out a plan,” said Cantrell. “We are going to allow 10 people in at a time. As of today, I have all the dockets online through Warren County government’s website. I think that will be helpful to everyone. People can go on there and see when their case has been rescheduled. We’ll update that as best we can.”
Dockets can be found at www.warrencountytn.gov. Click on “Court System” and then “Circuit Court.” Information about jury duty, juror selection, grand jury, petit jury and juror qualifications is also located there.
“Civil matters are being handled a little different,” said Cantrell. “We are trying to let those attorneys and people who filed those cases reset those when they are available. We’ve heard from attorneys and we are resetting those. Again, they will be limited to 10 at a time.”
Extra dates are being used.
“We have added some extra dates,” said Cantrell. “I think now we are having four criminal dates in Circuit Court and we are doing those in increments of 15 minutes. When you look at the dockets, you’ll see that we’re doing five every 15 minutes or so.”
Because dockets can change quickly as cases are added or removed, a structure has been placed at the front of the courthouse with a current docket.
“Because we’re limiting it to 10, people will have to wait outside,” said Cantrell. “We wanted to let them look and see if they are on the docket. If their name is on the docket, they can wait there until their name is called.”
Emails have been sent to local attorneys alerting them to the opening, the changes and that dockets are now online.
Monday kicks off with juvenile court. According to the website, the first docket heard in General Sessions is Tuesday, June 2, while the first docket heard in Circuit Court is June 10.
For more information, Cantrell can be reached at 473-2373 or after hours by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.