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Courts only handling essential cases amid pandemic

Posted at 4:33 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 19:11:43-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Many courts across the state are still open, but are operating under restrictions. The Fayette County Courthouses are no different.

Probation and bond hearings along with arraignments are being conducted by video or teleconferencing. There are signs posted in the Fayette Circuit Courthouse with a direct order from Chief Justice John Minton of the Kentucky Supreme Court that reads, "Only emergency matters will be heard by the court, thus small claims, civil matters, and and forcible detainers are NOT EMERGENCIES, per SUPREME COURT ORDER."

Fayette County Chief Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell says so far, people are following the restrictions.

"We're trying to reduce as much in-person contact as possible," Bunnell said.

Judge Bunnell says the courts will hear essential cases.

"Clearly the domestic violence, neglect and abuse cases, they're still going on," Bunnell noted. "We have canceled all of our criminal and civil trials. Those trials will be postponed until a further date. Grand jury proceedings will be postponed until April 20th."

Clerks in the circuit and district court offices are working split schedules to reduce contact with each other.

If you have questions about your case, you can call the courthouse to get more information. Have a fine to pay? You still have to pay it.

"We're encouraging everyone to do everything electronically and if they can't, then they use the old fashion way: the mail system," said Bunnell.