Jackson County District Judge Don Word said court is back in session.

“In-person hearings have resumed for the traffic and criminal cases,” said Word.

However, Word said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cases will not be conducted the same as they were just a few months ago.

Word said several recommendations and changes have been made including contacting the district clerk’s office to see if your case can be settled without a court appearance. Most traffic citations can be paid online or by mail with a money order or cashier’s check.

“Fines, court costs or other payments should be paid before the actual day of court, if possible,” said Word.

Word said everyone entering the Jackson County Courthouse, offices in the courthouse and courtrooms should maintain a minimum of six feet of separation.

“The number of people allowed in the courtroom at any one time will be limited and controlled by the courthouse personnel and security,” said Word.

Word said no one should enter the courthouse who has been diagnosed with, or has had contact with, anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or has been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital or health agency, or is sick or has a fever. He added that personal protection equipment is encouraged for all parties and attorneys.

Only plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses and attorneys will be allowed in courtrooms. Family members and friends should remain outside the courthouse due to space limitations and the need to maintain social distancing.

“This provision is for the protection of the health and safety of all parties, attorneys and courthouse employees,” said Word.

Word said, to protect the health and safety of county inmates and those work in the Jackson County Jail, inmates will not be transported to the courthouse except for trial.

Lastly, Word said negotiations between the state and parties should take place prior to the trial date, if possible.

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