Corona Virus Closes Missouri Courts
Missouri Supreme Court Reacts to Corona Virus
The corona virus and the associated COVID-19 has upended daily life in the St. Louis area and throughout Missouri. Finally after days of uncertainty surrounding court dockets and schedules, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down a sweeping declaration on Monday, March 16th, closing courts statewide until at least April 6th. There are few exceptions to the closures, mostly for emergency situations, and a few for confined defendants. Although confined defendants will continue to have some dockets, they will only be seen by video and will not be transported to court.
There are two main concerns with the with an open court system. The first is that the court buildings are crowded every day Monday through Friday, which creates an incredible opportunity for transmission of any virus or illness. This does not only apply to defendants and lawyers, but also to victims, jurors, witnesses, and parties in civil cases. The second major concern is if the corona virus was transmitted to an inmate. Despite best efforts, if one inmate gets sick, it is very difficult to keep any illness from spreading through the jail like wildfire. This is especially concerning with an illness as potentially dangerous as COVID-19.
Federal Courts Remain Open
Although all Missouri state and municipal courts have been closed for three weeks, the federal courthouses remain open at this time. Jury trials in the federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri in downtown St. Louis have been cancelled. Other federal criminal matters continue on in some aspects. Specific procedures for Change of Plea Hearings or Sentencing Hearings have not been conveyed, but some of those will proceed as scheduled.
Contact Korner Law With Any Questions
During these uncertain times, please follow the instructions from government agencies and the CDC concerning socializing and hygiene. If you have questions regarding court dates or court cases, please contact our office at 314-409-2659. Our office will remain open to keep our clients and others informed about their cases and the courts in general. Please stay safe and keep hope during these unprecedented times.