NC Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announces district and superior courts will put off most cases

Published 10:47 am Saturday, March 14, 2020

Most North Carolina district and superior court cases will be postponed for at least 30 days.

North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley made the announcement Friday, March 13, 2020 to protect the public during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Chief Justice Beasley said, “Today’s order will allow us to drastically reduce the exposure caused by crowded sessions of court, which often bring hundreds of people at a time into our courthouses.”

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Effective Monday, March 16, superior and district court proceedings will be rescheduled for at least 30 days, with some exceptions. These exceptions include:

– the proceeding will be conducted remotely;

– the proceeding is necessary to preserve the right to due process of law (e.g., a first appearance or bond hearing, the appointment of counsel for an indigent defendant, a probation hearing, a probable cause hearing, etc.);

– the proceeding is for the purpose of obtaining emergency relief (e.g., a domestic violence protection order, temporary restraining order, juvenile custody order, judicial consent to juvenile medical treatment order, civil commitment order, etc.); or

– the senior resident superior court judge, chief business court judge or chief district court judge determines that the proceeding can be conducted under conditions that protect the health and safety of all participants.

This emergency directive does not apply to any proceeding in which a jury has already been empaneled or to any grand juries already empaneled. It also does not prohibit a judge or other judicial officer from exercising any in chambers or ex parte jurisdiction conferred by law upon that judge or judicial officer, as provided by law.

Additionally, the superior courts and district courts are encouraged to liberally grant additional accommodations to parties, witnesses, attorneys and others with business before the courts who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Courts will notify parties and their attorneys of new hearing and trial dates.

Online court services at nccourts.gov/services are available for handling some court business, including citation services, paying a ticket, court payments, signing up for court date notifications and reminders, eFiling court documents for certain courts and case types and more.

People attending court in Dare County and who have questions are encouraged to call the Dare Clerk of Court at 252-475-5200.

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