On March 26, 2020 the Supreme Court of Kentucky, which had previously extended filing deadlines for anything due to the Supreme Court of Kentucky or the Court of Appeals between March 16, 2020 to April 10, 2020, released an amended Order relating to COVID-19 concerns. The newest Order extends deadlines by two more weeks and sets new guidelines. The full order can be found here.
Some of the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court of Kentucky include:
- All civil trials scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 24, 2020 are to be postponed and rescheduled for a later date, with civil trials in progress being continued or completed based on the judge’s discretion.
- All criminal trials scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 24, 2020 are to be postponed, unless it interferes with a defendant’s constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial;
- All small claims, eviction, juvenile, probate, traffic, and guardianship cases scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 24, 2020 are to be continued, with the exception of emergency matters and statutorily required hearings.
- Judges are to continue addressing matters that do not require a hearing or personal appearance.
- Matters are to be rescheduled if an attorney or a party is sick or in a high-risk category.
- Judges are to issue summonses in lieu of bench warrants or notices of failure to appear.
- All show cause dockets for payment of fines and court costs to be continued for sixty (60) days, if scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 24, 2020.
- Jurors who are ill, caring for someone who is ill, or who are in a high-risk category are to have their jury service postponed to a later date.
- New juror orientations shall be suspended unless an exception is granted by the Chief Justice while existing jury panels may be extended at the discretion of the court.
- Individuals who (i) have traveled to high-risk countries or states with widespread cases within the last fourteen (14) days; (ii) exhibit COVID-19 symptoms; or (iii) have been in contact with someone who has exhibited COVID-19 symptoms are prohibited from entering any state courthouse.
- Individuals with legitimate court business who are ill, caring for someone who is ill or who are in a high-risk category are advised to stay home and request a continuance by calling the local Office of the Circuit Court Clerk.
The latest COVID-19 Order allows judges to determine whether video or telephonic technology may be used to conduct certain hearings, which provides judges the discretion to continue to hear certain matters to help lessen the inevitable backlog that will occur as a result of COVID-19.
The Supreme Court’s COVID-19 Order responding to the unfolding pandemic has already been amended twice. A few days after the Court issued its latest version of the Order, President Trump extended social distancing guidelines for another thirty (30) days. Further amendments to the Order are likely. Return here for additional updates.