UPDATE–Chief Justice Beasley Extends Emergency Directives Regarding Jury Trials, Evictions, and Public Health Measures

August 15, 2020 – Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has extended emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These directives postpone jury trials and prescribe social distancing measures. The Chief Justice also extended a directive allowing additional time for clerks of superior court to schedule summary ejectment proceedings.

“These emergency directives have helped mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 in our courthouses,” said Chief Justice Beasley.“Today’s order extending the directives for 30 days is needed to help ensure public safety while conducting court business across North Carolina.”

The extended emergency directives are as follows:

*Postpone jury trials for 30 days
*Require that an affidavit be filed in residential evictions to confirm compliance with the federal CARES Act
*Require each senior resident superior court judge to craft a plan for the resumption of jury trials
*Require the public to wear face masks while in public areas of court facilities
*Require a COVID-19 coordinator for each judicial facility
*Prohibit crowded sessions of court where social distancing cannot be observed
*Require COVID-19 coordinators to approve court calendars before they are publicly distributed to ensure social distancing is possible and ensure face coverings are available for court personnel
*Require senior resident superior court judges to ensure public health measures such as cleaning and social distancing are provided in court facilities
*Ensure public access to court records and allows clerks to limit face-to-face interactions when accepting filings
*Encourage filings to be submitted by mail and allow a grace period of five days for filings received by mail
*Allow clerks of superior court additional time to schedule hearings in summary ejectment actions

For a list of orders from the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court of North Carolina, please visit the continuously updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) announcement page. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov to find answers to frequently asked questions before calling the local courthouse.  Announcements from local counties about changes to court operations can be found on the county page as well as the closings and advisories page. The public may also visit the Judicial Branch Facebook page and Twitter account to access information related to the coronavirus health concern.

Chief Justice Order – 20 July 2020 – 7A 39(b)(2) Emergency Directives 9–15, 20–22

UPDATE–Chief Justice Beasley Issues Order Extending Several Existing Emergency Directives

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has extended several existing emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The directives continue to allow increased use of technology and seek to limit foot traffic in courthouses.

“The extension of these emergency directives help ensure that our court system continues to administer justice while protecting the health and safety of court officials, court personnel, and the public,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “Members of the pubic should abide by all recommended public health measures in our courthouses as we conduct court business across North Carolina.”

The orders entered today by Chief Justice Beasley extend the effect of Emergency Directives 2–8. By law, emergency directives issued by the Chief Justice in response to a catastrophe expire every 30 days unless they are renewed.

The emergency directives extended today include:

*Require clerks of superior court to post notice at the courthouse to restrict entry by anyone likely exposed to COVID-19
*Allow increased use of teleconferencing for remote court hearings
*Limit public presence in courthouses to those with business to be conducted
*Waive notary requirements for court filings
*Allow certain documents to be served on another party or attorney by email
*Direct clerks of superior court not to enter or report nonpayment of money owed in criminal or infraction cases until after July 31
*Require that magistrates continue to perform marriages

For a list of orders from the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court of North Carolina, please visit the continuously updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) announcement page. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov to find answers to frequently asked questions before calling the local courthouse.  Announcements from local counties about changes to court operations can be found on the county page as well as the closings and advisories page. The public may also visit the Judicial Branch Facebook page and Twitter account to access information related to the coronavirus health concern.

Chief Justice Order – 29 July 2020 – 7A 39(b)(2) Order Extending Emergency Directive 2 – 8

UPDATE–Chief Justice Beasley Orders Extension of Emergency Directive Regarding Summary Ejectment Cases

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has extended Emergency Directive 18 for 30 days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This directive requires that an affidavit be filed in residential evictions to confirm compliance with the federal CARES Act.

“Although the federal moratorium on certain evictions is ending, several provisions of the CARES Act continue to apply,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “This directive helps to ensure that magistrates have the information necessary to determine whether those provisions apply in each case.”

By law, emergency directives issued by the Chief Justice in response to a catastrophe expire every 30 days unless they are renewed.

For a list of orders from the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court of North Carolina, please visit the continuously updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) announcement page. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov to find answers to frequently asked questions before calling the local courthouse.  Announcements from local counties about changes to court operations can be found on the county page as well as the closings and advisories page. The public may also visit the Judicial Branch Facebook page and Twitter account to access information related to the coronavirus health concern.

Chief Justice Order – 24 July 2020 – 7A 39(b)(2) Emergency Directive 18

UPDATE–Chief Justice Beasley Orders Extension of Emergency Directives

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has extended emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These directives postpone jury trials and prescribe social distancing measures. The Chief Justice also extended a directive allowing additional time for clerks of superior court to schedule summary ejectment proceedings.

“Courthouses continue to serve the public across North Carolina, but the health threat posed by COVID-19 remains a very present danger to the health and safety of our communities,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “These directives have helped mitigate risk and are needed to ensure that we continue the proper balance between postponing court business and resuming full court operations.”

The extended emergency directives are as follows:

*Postpone jury trials for 30 days
*Prohibit crowded sessions of court where social distancing cannot be observed
*Require COVID-19 coordinators to approve court calendars before they are publicly distributed to ensure social distancing is possible and ensure face coverings are available for court personnel
*Require senior resident superior court judges to ensure public health measures such as cleaning and social distancing are provided in court facilities
*Ensure public access to court records and allows clerks to limit face-to-face interactions when accepting filings
*Encourage filings to be submitted by mail and allow a grace period of five days for filings received by mail
*Allow clerks of superior court additional time to schedule hearings in summary ejectment actions

For a list of orders from the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court of North Carolina, please visit the continuously updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) announcement page. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov to find answers to frequently asked questions before calling the local courthouse.  Announcements from local counties about changes to court operations can be found on the county page as well as the closings and advisories page. The public may also visit the Judicial Branch Facebook page and Twitter account to access information related to the coronavirus health concern.

Chief Justice Order – 20 July 2020 – 7A 39(b)(2) Emergency Directives 9–15, 20

UPDATE–Chief Justice Cheri Beasley Issues Emergency Orders Requiring Face Coverings in Courthouses and Planning for the Resumption of Jury Trials

 Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has issued new emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that require the wearing of face coverings inside county courthouses and planning for the resumption of jury trials. 

“I have issued several emergency directives calculated to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina’s communities,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “Consistent with the Governor’s recommendations and the clear guidance of public health experts, requiring face coverings in courthouses is necessary to keep our courts open while protecting court personnel and the public.”

Chief Justice Beasley announced that jury trials in North Carolina courts will be delayed through at least September, and has directed senior resident superior court judges to develop comprehensive plans for the eventual safe resumption of jury trials in their districts. Each Jury Trial Resumption Plan must ensure that all court operations are in compliance with each of the Chief Justice’s emergency directives and must be informed by the Best Safety Practices distributed by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.

Each Jury Trial Resumption Plan must include:

  • A confirmation that each court facility and any alternate facility to be used for court operations is in compliance with each of the Chief Justice’s emergency orders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • A plan for summoning and excusing jurors, which allows for as much of the process to be handled remotely as possible;
  • A plan for conducting voir dire with social distancing;
  • A plan for conducting trials with social distancing in the courtroom for all court participants, including the jury, and in the deliberation room;
  • A plan for daily screening of jurors, court personnel, attorneys, witnesses, and parties for COVID-19 exposure or infection;
  • A plan for making face coverings available to jurors, court personnel, attorneys, witnesses, and parties;
  • A plan for responding in the event that a juror, defendant, attorney, witness, judge, or other courtroom personnel becomes symptomatic, tests positive for COVID-19, or has a known exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 during the trial.

Each Jury Trial Resumption Plan must be approved by the following officials in the county:

  • The chief district court judge;
  • The clerk of superior court;
  • The district attorney;
  • The public defender, or a criminal defense attorney chosen by the senior resident superior court judge in districts without a public defender;
  • The sheriff; and
  • The public health director.

For a list of orders from the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court of North Carolina, please visit the continuously updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) announcement page. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov to find answers to frequently asked questions before calling the local courthouse.  Announcements from local counties about changes to court operations can be found on the county’s page as well as the Closings and Advisories page. The public may also visit the Judicial Branch Facebook page and Twitter account for the latest court information related to the coronavirus health concern.