Supreme Court Amends Court Operations Statewide

The Supreme Court has issued new mandates to govern court operations as nearly all 120 Kentucky counties are now in the COVID-19 red zone.

Citing the news that 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and health-care resources are becoming overwhelmed, Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said in an email to court personnel today that it is imperative to restrict court activities now to protect the public and court staff from exposure.

To address the surging cases, the Supreme Court has amended two orders to limit in-person proceedings and restrict access to judicial facilities. The first, Administrative Order 2020-71, replaces Administrative Order 2020-63 in its entirety. The second, Administrative Order 2020-72, replaces Administrative Order 2020-64 in its entirety. Both orders will become effective Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, and pertain to all 120 counties.

The new orders adopt as mandates, many of the recommendations announced on October 29, as counties began moving into the red zone. They include; limiting entrance to judicial facilities, requiring remote hearings in all proceedings, except for a few exceptions listed here, and postponing all jury trials until February 1, 2021. Additionally, it will require grand juries to either be conducted remotely or suspended, postponing all show cause dockets until February 1, 2021, and requiring judicial sales to be conducted remotely or outside and per CDC guidelines.