Order Concerning Court Operations For The March 23, 2020 Criminal Session

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                 SUPERIOR COURT DIVISION
IN THE GENERAL COURT OF JUSTICE                COUNTY OF BUNCOMBE
20-R-______

IN THE MATTER OF THE OPERATION OF THE SUPERIOR COURT DIVISION
ORDER CONCERNING COURT IN JUDICIAL DISTRICT 28
OPERATIONS FOR THE MARCH 23, 2020 CRIMINAL SUPERIOR COURT SESSION

This matter came on before Alan Z. Thornburg, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, in the exercise of the Court’s in chambers jurisdiction. The undersigned judge makes the following order subject to an order previously entered by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
1. On March 13, 2020, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered an order pursuant to N. C. Gen. Stat. 7A-39(b)(2) determining that catastrophic conditions resulting from a public health threat posed by COVID-19 exist in all counties of this state.
2. Pursuant to the Chief Justice’s order, all superior court proceedings shall be scheduled or rescheduled for a date no sooner than 30 days from the issuance of her order or until after April 13, 2020.
3. The Chief Justice’s order permitted proceedings to be held when “the proceeding will be conducted remotely.” Emergency Directive 1, Exception 1.
4. The Chief Justice’s order permitted proceedings when “the proceeding is necessary to preserve the right of due process of law.” Emergency Directive 1, Exception 2.
5. The Chief Justice’s order permitted proceedings when “the proceeding is for the purpose of obtaining emergency relief.” Emergency Directive 1, Exception 3.
6. Finally, the Chief Justice’s order permitted proceedings when the senior resident superior court judge “determines that the proceeding can be conducted under conditions that protect the health and safety of all participants.” Emergency Directive 1, Exception 4.
7. Chief Justice Beasley further ordered the Clerk of Superior Court to post notices on the doors at all courthouse entrances directing persons who have likely been exposed to COVID-19 not to enter the courthouse.
8. The undersigned Superior Court Judge has been assigned to conduct the March 23, 2020 Session of Superior Court in Buncombe County.
10. The undersigned judge has considered appropriate disposition of matters to come before the Court during this session and conferred with the District Attorney and Public Defender.
11. The District Attorney will prepare a calendar for the week of March 23, 2020. Some defendants on the calendar are in custody.
12. This session of court must be held for some cases to preserve the right of due process of law and the undersigned judge believes by implementing certain measures, including scheduling and social distancing, the Court can conduct these proceedings under conditions that protect the health and safety of all participants.
Pursuant to the provisions of the order entered by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, it is hereby ordered for the purposes of the March 23, 2020 Criminal calendar in Buncombe County that:
1. No trials will be conducted during this session of court and no jurors will report or be brought to the courthouse.
2. No calendar call will be held for this session of court.
3. Certain matters involving defendants held in the Buncombe County Jail may be conducted remotely whenever possible.
4. Criminal motions and pleas, including first appearances and bond hearings, will be conducted throughout the week for individuals starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, March 23, 2020 on a staggered schedule in District Court 1A courtroom. Attorneys are directed to contact the assistant district attorney assigned to your case to schedule a time to appear in court.
5. In-custody probation violation hearings will be conducted Thursday, March 26, 2020 in the District Court 1A courtroom beginning at 9:30 a.m. for matters sought to be addressed by any probationer’s attorney.  Attorneys are directed to contact the assistant district attorney assigned to your case to schedule a time to appear in court.
6. The Court has been advised that the District Attorney will consider requests by attorneys to add in-custody matters to the published calendar for disposition.
7. If defendants are physically present in the courtroom defendants shall be assigned a place to sit in the courtroom while awaiting their hearing by the courtroom officers so that appropriate social distancing may be maintained.
8. The courtroom used for this session of court is sufficiently large to enable social distancing to be effectively used for all participants.
9. Attorneys for defendants who have matters on the trial calendar that need to be heard to protect the rights of the defendants should contact the District Attorney’s office and the Court to coordinate scheduling of these matters.
10. Continuances will be freely given due to expression of symptoms consistent with Coronavirus by any defendant, probationer, attorney or witness. These individuals shall not enter the courthouse and any motion to continue on these grounds shall be communicated to the Court.
11. No defendant who has been exposed to COVID-19 and who is consequently banned from the courthouse shall be required to be present in court. Any defendant who has been banned by virtue of Chief Justice Beasley’s order shall contact his or her probation officer or attorney to advise them of their exposure and banned status prior to the hearing.
This the 19th day of March, 2020.

_____________________________________
Alan Z. Thornburg
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge

Order Concerning Court Operations For The March 23 & 30, 2020 Civil Session

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                 SUPERIOR COURT DIVISION
IN THE GENERAL COURT OF JUSTICE                COUNTY OF BUNCOMBE

IN THE MATTER OF THE OPERATION OF THE SUPERIOR COURT DIVISION
ORDER CONCERNING COURT IN JUDICIAL DISTRICT 28
OPERATIONS FOR THE MARCH 23, and 30, 2020 CIVIL SESSION

This matter comes on before Alan Z. Thornburg, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, in the exercise of the Court’s in chambers jurisdiction. The undersigned judge makes the following order subject to an order previously entered by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
1. On March 13, 2020, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered an order pursuant to N. C. Gen. Stat. 7A-39(b)(2) determining that catastrophic conditions resulting from a public health threat posed by COVID-19 exist in all counties of this state.
2. Pursuant to the Chief Justice’s order, all superior court proceedings shall be scheduled or rescheduled for a date no sooner than 30 days from the issuance of her order or until on or after April 13, 2020.
3. The Chief Justice’s order permitted proceedings to be held when “the proceeding will be conducted remotely.” Emergency Directive 1, Exception 1.
4. The Chief Justice’s order permitted proceedings when “the proceeding is necessary to preserve the right of due process of law.” Emergency Directive 1, Exception 2.
5. The Chief Justice’s order permitted proceedings when “the proceeding is for the purpose of obtaining emergency relief.” Emergency Directive 1, Exception 3.
6. Finally, the Chief Justice’s order permitted proceedings when the senior resident superior court judge “determines that the proceeding can be conducted under conditions that protect the health and safety of all participants.” Emergency Directive 1, Exception 4.
7. Chief Justice Beasley further ordered the Clerk of Superior Court to post notices on the doors at all courthouse entrances directing persons who have likely been exposed to COVID-19 not to enter the courthouse.
Pursuant to the provisions of the order entered by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, it is hereby ordered for the purposes of the March 23 and 30, 2020 Civil Calendar in Buncombe County that:
1. All trials will be continued to a future date to be determined by counsel for the parties and the Trial Court Coordinator Marc Shimberg.
2. No calendar call will be held for this session of court.
3. All motions on the calendar will be heard either by conference call or remotely. Mr. Shimberg will contact the parties to make the necessary arrangements for scheduling these hearings.
4. If the parties cannot agree to having the matter heard by conference call or remotely, the matter may be either continued to a date agreed upon with the Trial Court Administrator or, if the undersigned judge believes that the matter can be heard safely utilizing social distancing and the calendaring of only one motion at a particular time period, the matter may be heard at the originally-scheduled time.
5. Any party or attorney who believes that they have been exposed to COVID-19 shall contact Marc Shimberg for further instructions.
This the 19th day of March 2020.

_____________________________________
Alan Z. Thornburg
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge

 

 

Chief Justice Beasley Orders Extension of Court System Deadlines

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order today extending filing deadlines and further curtailing other court processes. The order states that documents due to be filed from March 16 to April 17 will be deemed timely filed if received before the close of business on April 17, 2020, and that any actions required to be done during that time can also be postponed until April 17, 2020. This decision comes as the court system continues work to curtail operations in light of the growing exigent circumstances related to the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re working to slow the spread of infection and one of the ways we can do that is to suspend routine filings and other court-related deadlines,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “We want attorneys and people representing themselves in court to stay home and out of the courthouse to the fullest extent possible.”

This is the third emergency step taken by Chief Justice Beasley because of coronavirus health concerns. On March 13, she issued two emergency directives postponing most cases in superior and district courts for 30 days and instructing local officials to take steps to limit the risk of exposure in courthouses.

On March 15, 2020, Chief Justice Beasley issued a memo providing guidance to local judges, clerks, and district attorneys as they worked to implement earlier directives. The memo allowed for the public and court personnel to practice social distancing and other preventative measures recommended by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control.

In light of this rapidly evolving public health situation, the Judicial Branch will provide continuously updated information on our website, NCcourts.gov. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov as a first resort to determine if a question can be answered without calling the local courthouse.  The public may also visit the Judicial Branch Facebook page and Twitter account to access information related to the coronavirus health concern.

Online court services are available for handling some court business, including citation services, paying your ticket, court payments, signing up for court date notifications and reminders, eFiling court documents for certain courts and case types, and more.

MORE INFORMATION

Read the Supreme Court Order – March 19, 2020
Read the Memo – March 15, 2020
Read the Supreme Court Order – March 13, 2020
Watch the announcement on the Judicial Branch Facebook page
NCcourts.gov
Online court services
###

About North Carolina Judicial Branch
The North Carolina Judicial Branch is an equal and distinctively separate branch and core function of government. More than 6,400 Judicial Branch employees statewide administer justice in courthouses in North Carolina’s 100 counties. The Judicial Branch budget for FY 2018–2019 was $553.2M, nearly 92% of which is used to pay salaries and the remaining 8% is used for operations. The Judicial Branch receives only 2.31% of the overall State budget.

About North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts
The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) is the administrative agency for the North Carolina Judicial Branch, providing administrative services to help the North Carolina court system operate more efficiently and effectively, taking into account each courthouse’s diverse needs, caseloads, and available resources.

Media Contacts
Sharon Gladwell – O 919-890-1394 | M 919-247-2173

Chief Justice Beasley Orders Extension of Court System Deadlines 3-19-2020

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order today extending filing deadlines and further curtailing other court processes. The order states that documents due to be filed from March 16 to April 17 will be deemed timely filed if received before the close of business on April 17, 2020, and that any actions required to be done during that time can also be postponed until April 17, 2020. This decision comes as the court system continues work to curtail operations in light of the growing exigent circumstances related to the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re working to slow the spread of infection and one of the ways we can do that is to suspend routine filings and other court-related deadlines,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “We want attorneys and people representing themselves in court to stay home and out of the courthouse to the fullest extent possible.”

This is the third emergency step taken by Chief Justice Beasley because of coronavirus health concerns. On March 13, she issued two emergency directives postponing most cases in superior and district courts for 30 days and instructing local officials to take steps to limit the risk of exposure in courthouses.

On March 15, 2020, Chief Justice Beasley issued a memo providing guidance to local judges, clerks, and district attorneys as they worked to implement earlier directives. The memo allowed for the public and court personnel to practice social distancing and other preventative measures recommended by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control.

In light of this rapidly evolving public health situation, the Judicial Branch will provide continuously updated information on our website, NCcourts.gov. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov as a first resort to determine if a question can be answered without calling the local courthouse.  The public may also visit the Judicial Branch Facebook page and Twitter account to access information related to the coronavirus health concern.

Online court services are available for handling some court business, including citation services, paying your ticket, court payments, signing up for court date notifications and reminders, eFiling court documents for certain courts and case types, and more.

MORE INFORMATION

Read the Supreme Court Order – March 19, 2020
Read the Memo – March 15, 2020
Read the Supreme Court Order – March 13, 2020
Watch the announcement on the Judicial Branch Facebook page
NCcourts.gov
Online court services

Join Pisgah Legal in Helping Our Neighbors

Dear Attorneys,

Pisgah Legal Services is working to adapt our programs and services in response to the changing and growing needs among our neighbors as schools, businesses and courts close or reduce hours. We are also taking steps to protect our staff, volunteers and clients in the midst of this pandemic.

There is no doubt that this crisis will have extremely detrimental impacts on many families and individuals across our region. We expect increased levels of poverty, housing instability, and food insecurity and more domestic violence as families are isolated and stressed. PLS staff is preparing to respond to new challenges, in collaboration with our WNC partners.

To “flatten the curve” PLS staff members are now working remotely with no in-person meetings with clients, unless absolutely necessary. We continue to take applications by phone and on-line at www.pisgahlegal.org and to work to meet our clients’ needs. You can reach our staff through our regular email and phone extensions.

Most importantly, we need your help! Please take a moment now to fill out a very brief survey to help us gather information about the availability of volunteer attorneys to assist our clients during this time (Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JVHFY3V). It will take 2 minutes! Your response assist our staff as we plan to meet our clients’ needs in these extraordinary and difficult times.

Thank you for your support,

Katie Russell Miller
Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyer Program Director
828-210-3420
katierm@pisgahlegal.org