Judge: Daviess Co. family court hearings now virtual due to COVID-19 cases at judicial building

Jury trials postponed
Judge: Daviess Co. family court hearings now virtual due to COVID-19 cases at judicial building
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 7:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2020 at 7:49 PM CDT
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DAVIESS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - The Daviess County Circuit Court will be postponing jury trials as far out as October and November.

Daviess County Family Court Judge Julia Gordon says she, along with Judge McCarty, have decided to send their staff home for 14 days.

She says it’s due to recent confirmed COVID-19 cases within the judicial building.

“Once we found out we were having some issues with COVID in the building, there was no reason for us not to just move back to all Skype and just work from home,” said Judge Gordon.

Officials with the Daviess Co. Sheriffs Office say they have two deputies who have tested positive.

They will quarantine for two weeks and be back at work when it’s cleared by the Green River District Health Department.

Judge Gordon says the staff will be working remotely, and all scheduled hearings will take place via Skype or Zoom until at least August 5.

“I think it’s far less stressful on the public as well, having to worry about coming into a public building with a lot of other people,” said Judge Gordon.

She says anyone with questions about Family Court can email the staff or daviessfamilycourt@kycourts.net.

In addition to family court changes, many of those waiting for their day in circuit court may have to wait a little bit longer.

“We decided that it would be impractical and unworkable for us to have jury trials,” said Circuit Court Judge Jay Wethington.

While many court functions have been proceeding as scheduled since the COVID-19 outbreak, that will no longer be the case for jury trials.

“Based upon our constraints we’re operating under right now from the COVID virus,” said Judge Wethington.

Circuit Court Judges Jay Wethington and Lisa Payne came to the decision Friday to reschedule jury trials that were set for August and September.

“The staffing of the clerk’s office, the feasibility of adequately seating a jury in time, the fairness of the trials to the litigates and the anticipated objection to the litigates to the constrictions that we were considering,” said Judge Wethington.

Judge Wethington says he’s hoping jury trials will be back to normal come October.

“Maybe, maybe, I mean, the experts we hear say things are just gonna get worse, I don’t know,” said Judge Wethington.

Judge Wethington says they’ll continue to hear criminal cases and arraignments. He says they’ll have some personal appearances, but he says they may have to start doing that via Skype.

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