UPDATE: This has been superseded by order 2020-16.
Supreme Court of Kentucky
IN RE: KENTUCKY COURT OF JUSTICE RESPONSE TO COVID-19 EMERGENCY
On March 6, 2020, Governor Beshear entered Executive Order 2020-215 and declared a State of Emergency in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency in the Commonwealth. In light of this measure and to protect the health and safety of court employees, elected officials, and the general public, and under Section 116 of the Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 1.010, the Supreme Court hereby ORDERS the following measures to be implemented from Monday, March 16, to Friday, April 10, 2020:
- With the exception of emergency and time-sensitive matters, including but not limited to, domestic violence hearings, emergency custody hearings, evidentiary hearings in criminal cases, in-custody arraignments, in-custody preliminary hearings under RCr 3.10, in-custody bond motions, and in-custody probation violation hearings, all in-person appearances for civil and criminal dockets shall be canceled. Judges are encouraged to use telephonic or video technology for all necessary hearings, including arraignments and mental-health hearings.
- All civil trials, hearings, and motions shall be postponed and rescheduled for a later date. Any civil trial or hearing currently in progress shall be continued or completed at the discretion of the presiding judge.
- Reasonable attempts shall be made to reschedule all criminal trials, subject to a defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
- With the exception of emergency matters and hearings statutorily required to be held, small claims, eviction, juvenile, probate, traffic, and guardianship cases shall be continued.
- Courtroom attendance shall be limited to attorneys, parties, and necessary witnesses.
- A case involving an attorney or party who is ill or in a high-risk category shall be rescheduled.
- Judges shall issue summonses in lieu of bench warrants or notices of
failure to appear.
- All show cause dockets for payment of fines and court costs scheduled
within this timeframe shall be continued for 60 days.
- The 20-day preliminary hearing requirement for out-of-custody
defendants under RCr 3.10 is waived during the effective dates of this
- Jurors who are ill, caring for someone who is ill, or in a high-risk
category shall have their jury service postponed to a later date.
- New juror orientations shall be suspended.
- Existing jury panels may be extended at the discretion of the court.
- Attorneys are encouraged to use e-Filing.
- Drop boxes should be used for conventionally filed documents if
- Signage shall be posted at all public entry points advising individuals
not to enter the building if they have:
a. In the previous 14 days, visited China, Iran, South Korea, any European countries, or any other high-risk countries identified by the CDC;
b. Resided with or been in close contact with someone who has been
in any of those countries within the previous 14 days;
c. Traveled domestically within the United States where COVID-19
has sustained widespread community transmission;
d. Been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital, or health
e. Been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone who has
been diagnosed with COVID-19; or
f. A fever, cough or shortness of breath.
- Individuals attempting to enter in violation of these protocols shall be
denied entrance by a bailiff or court security officer.
- Bailiffs shall discourage congregating outside courtroom doors and
encourage social distancing inside the courtroom.
- Individuals with legitimate court business who are ill, caring for
someone who is ill or in a high-risk category are advised to stay home
and request a continuance by calling the local Office of Circuit Court
Nothing in this Order shall preclude the chief district and chief circuit judges from implementing additional local restrictions as needed. This Order shall be effective from March 16, 2020, to April 10, 2020, or until further Order of this Court.
Entered this 13th day of March 2020.
Signed, CHIEF JUSTICE John Minton
All sitting; all concur.
Changes from 2020-08 (PDF of original) order:
Section 1 original: With the exception of emergency matters, domestic violence hearings, and evidentiary hearings in criminal cases, all in-person appearances for civil and criminal dockets shall be canceled. Judges are encouraged to use telephonic or video technology for all necessary hearings, including arraignments and mental health hearings.
Section 15a original: Visited China, Iran, South Korea, any European countries, or any other high-risk countries identified by the CDC in the previous 14 days;