Coronavirus Updates

Kanawha County courtrooms go virtual during pandemic

Local News

KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – With a stay-at-home order in place and the Kanawha County Judicial Annex closed due to positive coronavirus cases detected the justice system is having to work around to the curve-balls the Coronavirus is throwing its way.

“Yesterday our supreme court and our Kanawha County prosecutors office worked through the day and night to relocate our magistrate court to city center east in Kanawha City,” said Ben Salango with the Kanawha County Commission on Thursday.

That is where Magistrate Marva Crouch will be located from 9-9 every day and on-call until the quarantine is over. “This is just an opportunity for me to be able to help because I have done this in other counties but of course this situation here is a little different,” she says.

Crouch works remotely in this building to keep important justice matters moving,
despite the “stay in place” order in west Virginia, an already backlogged criminal court is trying to keep its head above water.

“So that we can continue to do the types of emergency cases such as abuse and neglect cases such as domestic violence petitions criminal arraignments those types of matters that are not able to be put off,” said Chief Justice Tim Armstead on Thursday.

Like the rest of the world – the courts have gone “virtual” – like today’s preliminary hearing for Lasalle Burnett who faces murder charges after an incident from June last year… each participant called in from different locations. Though they are in a virtual courtroom magistrate crouch says her duties don’t change.

“It’s the same because I am one-on-one with them then I have my recording apparatus here it’s being recorded as we speak just like it is in the courtroom…everyone speaks takes their turn, everybody has their opinions their objections and then I make my ruling,” Crouch adds.

The court is still doing domestic violence petitions. They will be handled with the help of the sheriff’s department, with little in-person contact. The number to call is 304-357-0169.

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