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BREAKING: Tennessee courts suspend in-person court appearances amid COVID-19 uncertainty

The Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court has declared a state of emergency for the Judicial Branch of the Tennessee government, effectively shutting down all in-person court proceedings in all state and local courts, including municipal, juvenile, general sessions, trial and appellate courts.

These in-person proceedings are suspended beginning at close of business Friday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 31. This according to an order issued by Tennessee Supreme Court.

Coffee County Circuit Court Clerk Heather Duncan told Thunder Radio News that court personnel and judges will remain in the building at the Coffee County Justice Center and business will continue to operate. However, in-person proceedings will be halted in accordance with the order.

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“If someone has a very pressing matter, they can call us or come see us at the circuit court clerk’s office and if we need to get them in front of a judge we will see what we can do,” said Duncan.

There are exceptions to this suspension of proceedings, according to the order, that include the following:

*proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants, including bond-related matters and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals
*Civil and criminal jury trials that are in progress as of March 13.
*Proceedings related to relief from abuse, including but not limited to orders of protection
*Proceedings related to emergency child custody orders
*Department of Children’s Services emergency matters related to child protection
*Proceedings related to petitions for temporary injunctive relief
*Proceedings related to emergency mental health orders
*Proceedings related to emergency protection of elderly or vulnerable persons
*Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency
*other exceptions as approved by the Chief Justice.

Here is the updated calendar for General Sessions Court:

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Original date March 16, New date: April 6

Original date March 17, new date: April 7

Original date March 18 (civil), new date: April 8

Original date March 19, new date April 9

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Original date March 24, new date April 21

Original date March 25 (civil), new date April 15

Original date March 26, new date April 23

Here is the updated calendar for Circuit Court (Judge Jackson):

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Original date March 17, new date April 21 (arraignments)

Original date March 23, new date April 27 (divorces)

Original date March 25, new date April 15 (criminal motions)

Original date March 26, new date April 30 (child support)
Updated calendar for Circuit Court (Judge Johnson)

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Original date March 16, new date April 20 (divorces)

Original date March 18, new date April 8 (criminal motions)

Updated Calendar Juvenile Court

Original date March 17, new date May 19 (child support)

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Original date March 19, new date April 16

Original date March 26, new date April 23

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