Special to the Courier

Jefferson County courts are implementing new policies and procedures to ensure safety and continuity of operations during the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

The courthouse, on lockdown with business conducted by appointment only since earlier this week, has led the courts to adjust the way they operate to keep the courts open for essential business only. There are new policies and procedures in a number of areas of business by the courts including:

Jury Duty

Individuals who have received a jury summons should not report for jury duty at this time.

Litigants/Parties to a Case

Each case pending before the courts is important. However, under the circumstances, the courts must review each case to determine whether an emergency exists such that a hearing is absolutely necessary.

Individuals who are scheduled to appear in court for a civil matter from March 17, through May 17 should speak with their attorney about the status of their case. If you are unrepresented, contact the court by phone at 812-265-8930 (Circuit Court) or 812-265-8914 (Superior Court) to determine if your hearing will proceed as scheduled.

If your attorney or the court instructs that you are to appear for a hearing, you should report to the main security entrance of the courthouse to check in no later than 15 minutes prior to the hearing.

At that time of check-in you may be required to answer specific questions about travel and/or exposure to the COVID-19 virus. You may also be required to submit to a temperature check and utilize appropriate sanitizer before you will be admitted to court.

Non-Parties or

Members of the Public

Court proceedings are currently restricted to parties, attorneys, subpoenaed witnesses and court staff. This is necessary given the relatively small size of our courtrooms which make social distancing impracticable, and to ensure the health of court staff and members of the public.

Probation and

Court Ordered Services

Jefferson Circuit Court runs the Jefferson County probation department. Jefferson County Community Corrections is operated by the Indiana Department of Correction. If you are on court-ordered supervision, you are directed to contact your individual case worker as to how you are to report.

Indiana Administrative

Rule 17

Indiana Administrative Rule 17 describes the Indiana Supreme Court’s ability to oversee the local administration of trial courts in the event of any unanticipated work interruption. Trial courts can utilize the rule by petitioning the Supreme Court for emergency relief, if needed, based on local circumstances.

Jefferson County courts submitted a petition under this rule to the Supreme Court on March 16, 2020 and the Supreme Court issued an order granting the petition. The order is effective March 16, 2020 and, among other things, tolls statutory deadlines to allow our court system some flexibility in handling criminal and civil matters in a manner most likely to reduce health risk to the parties, staff, and the general public.

The Jefferson County courts are working with local emergency management and health departments, as well as the Supreme Court, to ensure we are taking the necessary steps in response to the virus while simultaneously ensuring due process and other rights for litigants are protected.