Rutherford County area Judges recently attended the annual State Judicial Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. This was the first in person hearing since March of last year for judges. You may recall that March was when the original Declaration of Emergency was ordered by the Governor of Tennessee and the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Throughout the pandemic, court cases looked quite different when compared to the past. Things like depositions, which are normally held in person, were recorded on Zoom video feeds. Thousands of people involved in court cases gave statements or testimony online via “LIVE” streaming video feeds, which was anything but routine pre-pandemic. It is also interesting to note that Judges throughout the state held over 19,000 Zoom video-fed hearings with over 180,000 participants over the past 15-months.
In-person court restrictions were ordered on March 13, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Those restrictions equaled the suspension of those involved in Tennessee court cases appearing in court in-person for court proceedings.
After the courts were under such heavy restrictions for a full year, it was deemed that the spread of COVID-19 was going down. Due to the declining COVID numbers, the Tennessee Supreme Court released modifications to their original order. Those modifications allowed for in-person proceedings to take place if the case involved the termination of parental rights, effective March 1, 2021.
On March 15, 2021, the courts lifted the in-person restrictions on almost all proceedings throughout Tennessee, but kept the suspension in place for jury trials. It wasn’t until March 31, 2021 that the in-person restriction was lifted on jury trials in the Volunteer State.
Attorney John Day stated...
On May 14th of this year, a new order was filed by the Supreme Court of Tennessee that allowed things to go back to a somewhat normal state within day-to-day operations of court. Some of the modifications include the courts reducing the 6-foot distance between persons in the courtroom to only a 3-foot distance. Facial mask requirments were also dropped throughout Tennessee courts.
Read the order HERE.