Tennessee Supreme Court suspends certain in-person proceedings until end of April

Coronavirus

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In response to the coronavirus, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended certain state and local court proceedings until after April 30.

According to the documents, all in-person proceedings are suspended from Friday, March 13 to Thursday, April 30.

“Each day across the State of Tennessee, thousands of people attend court proceedings in-person when they come to the courthouse as jurors, witnesses, litigants, or in another capacity. Public spaces in courthouses tend to be small, tightly packed bench seats that provide the type of situations public health officials have encouraged people to avoid during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Chief Justice Jeff Bivins. “However, judges, court clerks, and others provide essential constitutional functions that must be carried on. In issuing this Order, the Court struck a balance in limiting the public’s exposure to the virus with continuing essential court functions judges must provide to ensure the administration of justice.”

The following types of cases are exceptions:

  • Proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants, including bond-related matters, preliminary hearings for incarcerated individuals, and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals
  • Proceedings related to relief from abuse, including but not limited to orders of protection
  • Proceedings related to statutory order of protection hearings after entry of an ex parte order as necessary to satisfy any due process concerns 03/25/2020
  • Proceedings related to emergency child custody or visitation orders
  • Proceedings related to the voluntary surrender of parental rights
  • Settlements involving a minor or a person with a disability
  • Department of Children’s Services emergency matters related to child safety, placement, permanency, or federal funding for children in foster care
  • 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

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