Reopening West Virginia’s court system

Coronavirus in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Tomorrow, May 18th, the West Virginia judicial system can resume its normal operations, but will not happen overnight. It’s a gradual process that is determined by a two-tier system.

The two-tier system consists of ‘Green Counties’ and ‘COVID-19 Hotspot Counties’, which will determine the courts’ reopening protocols.

According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, courts within Green Counties can gradually resume normal operations while sanitizing, social distancing and providing personal protective equipment, while still encouraging judicial officers to hold proceedings virtually.

Grand jury proceedings may begin June 15th and jury trials will continue on June 29th.

Courts that fall in ‘Hotspot Counties’ can’t continue in-person proceedings until the county reaches ‘Green County’ status. Until then, staffing shall be limited and all employees should work remotely if possible.

Five out of 55 counties are still on the hotspot list, including Berkeley, Jefferson, Harrison, Marion and Monongalia counties.

Kanawha County is now considered a ‘Green County’ has a “safe opening” plan in place that includes some rules like fever screening upon entry, face masks will be required for access and offices may require appointments as additional safeguards.

On March 22nd, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeal

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Tim Armstead entered an order declaring a judicial emergency, which grants the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia constitutional supervisory power over the circuit courts, family courts, and magistrate courts in West Virginia.

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