Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the North Carolina Supreme Court held a press conference Friday to announce new judicial branch measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among members of the public who have business before the state courts.
The chief justice ordered local court officials to schedule or reschedule all superior and district court proceedings for a date no sooner than 30 days after March 16 unless the proceedings involve emergency relief or it is necessary to preserve the right to due process of law, according to a news release from the Iredell County Clerk of Court.
The following rules will apply for superior and district court proceedings in Alexander and Iredell counties:
Domestic Violence Court will proceed as usual. Parties seeking emergency relief under Chapters 50B and 50C are asked to come to the clerk’s office by 9 a.m. to have their request for ex parte relief heard by a judge. If one is a plaintiff or defendant in one of these matters, go to court as required. One is encouraged to not allow persons other than necessary witnesses to accompany you to court.
Civic District and Superior Court will limit the number of cases which will be heard. Matters for emergency custody, summary judgment divorces, temporary restraining orders and other emergency matters will be heard. Other cases and scheduling conferences will be continued until after April 16.
Criminal District Court sessions will continue to hear cases which affect due process. Cases which will continue as usual include: first appearances, probable cause hearings, preliminary hearings on probation violations and bond motions. All other cases will be continued to a date after April 16.
All criminal district court will be held at the Hall of Justice in Statesville regardless of whether one was previously set to appear in Statesville or Mooresville.
Criminal Superior Court will operate on a business-as-normal schedule for first appearances, bond and preliminary hearings. Superior Court will operate on a restricted schedule and will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Monday. All non-custody defendant cases will be continued until or after April 16. All other custody cases will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Alexander County Traffic/Administrative court will not be held until after the expiration of the emergency measures ordered by Beasley.
Iredell County Traffic/Administrative Court will not be open to the general public. Attorneys should appear at 9 a.m.
District and Superior Court jury trials will be rescheduled until after April 16.
Grand juries will not meet until after April 16.
Delinquency Court will conduct secure custody hearings, first appearances and probable cause hearings. All other hearings will be continued until after April 16.
Abuse/neglect/dependency court will conduct non-secure custody hearings as scheduled. All other matters will be addressed pursuant to the timing requirements of the relevant statutes. The attorneys for the Department of Social Services will communicate with attorneys to reschedule any non-essential matters. Individuals who are not represented by an attorney should contact the clerk’s office or their assigned social workers to determine whether they should appear in court.
Child Support Court will conduct hearings only for individuals who are currently in custody. All other cases will be continued and one will receive notice by mail of the new court date.
Special Proceedings such as commitment hearings at Davis Regional Medical Center and at Children’s Hope Alliance will be held as scheduled.
Hearings before the clerk or assistant clerk will continue as scheduled.
Foreclosure hearings will be continued for 60 days. New notices will be sent by mail.
Small Claims Court will continue as scheduled.
If represented by an attorney, one should contact that attorney for scheduling information. If not represented by an attorney, contact the clerk’s office. If a victim or witness for the state, contact the District Attorney’s Office or visit www.nccourts.gov for continuance dates.
General tips: If one has traveled out of the country in the past 14 days or have been exposed to someone who has traveled out of the country in the past 14 days or if one have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, do not come to the courthouse. Communicate any concerns with the appropriate individuals listed above.