Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the North Carolina Supreme Court held a press conference on Friday, March 13, 2020, to announce new Judicial Branch measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) among members of the public who have business before the state courts. The Chief Justice ordered local court officials to schedule or reschedule all superior and district court proceedings for a date no sooner than 30 days after March 16 (which would be April 16, 2020, or later) unless the proceeding involves emergency relief or is necessary to preserve the right to due process of law.
The following rules will apply for Superior and District court proceedings in Alexander County:
Domestic Violence Court will proceed as usual. Parties seeking emergency relief under Chapters 50B and 50C are asked to come to the Clerk’s Office by 9:00 a.m. to have their request for ex parte relief heard by a judge. If you are the plaintiff or defendant in one of these matters, you should come to court as required. You are encouraged to not allow persons other than necessary witnesses to accompany you to court.
Civil District and Superior Court will limit the number of cases which will be heard. Matters noticed for emergency custody, summary judgment divorces, temporary restraining orders, and other emergency matters will be heard. Other cases and scheduling conferences will be continued until after April 16, 2020. Attorneys may agree to the next date or the case may be removed to be re-noticed by a party after the expiration of the emergency measures ordered by the Chief Justice.
Criminal District Court sessions will continue to hear cases which affect due process. Cases which will continue as usual include: first appearances, probable cause hearings, preliminary hearings on probation violations, and bond motions. All other cases will be continued to a date after April 16, 2020.
Criminal Superior Court will operate on a business as normal schedule for first appearances, bond hearings, and preliminary hearings. Superior Court will operate on a restricted schedule and will begin promptly Monday, March 23, at 10:00 a.m. All non-custody defendant cases will be continued until April 27, 2020. All other custody cases will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Alexander County Traffic / Administrative Court will not be held until after the expiration of the emergency measures entered by the Chief Justice.
District and Superior Court Jury Trials will be rescheduled until after April 16, 2020.
Grand Juries will not meet until April 27, 2020.
Delinquency Court will conduct secure custody hearings, first appearances, and probable cause hearings. All other hearings will be continued until after April 16, 2020.
Abuse/Neglect/Dependency Court will conduct non-secure custody hearings as scheduled. All other matter will be addressed pursuant to the timing requirements of the relevant statutes. The attorneys for the Departments of Social Services will communicate with attorneys to reschedule any non-essential matters. Individuals who are not represented by an attorney should contact the Clerk’s Office or their assigned social workers to determine whether or not they should appear in court.
Child Support Court will conduct hearings only for individuals who are being held in custody. All other cases will be continued and you will receive notice by mail of the new court date.
Special Proceedings will be held as scheduled.
Hearings before the Clerk or Assistant Clerk will continue as scheduled.
Foreclosure Hearings will be continued as scheduled.
Small Claims Court will continue as scheduled.
General Tips for Lawyers:
Please plan to be present when court opens for the day. We will be operating on a limited schedule and will not hold matters open for attorneys. If you plan to request a probable cause hearing, please give the Office of the District Attorney ample notice.
General Tips for the Public:
If you are a party who is represented by an attorney, please contact your attorney for scheduling information. If you are not represented by an attorney, please contact the Clerk’s Office at 828-635-3113. If you are a victim or a witness for the State, contact the Office of the District Attorney at 704-832-6803. Individuals may also visit www.nccourts.org for continuance dates.
General Tips for Everyone:
If you have traveled out of the country in the past 14 days or have been exposed to someone who has traveled out of the country in the past 14 days, or if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, please do not come to the courthouse. Communicate your concern to the appropriate individuals listed above.
The Alexander County Clerk of Court’s Office will remain open on a regular schedule, stated Clerk of Court Danny T. Dyson.