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Arkansas courts see suspension of most proceedings due to COVID-19

The Arkansas Supreme Court has suspended all in-person court proceedings with a few exceptions.
Credit: Talk Business and Politics

ARKANSAS, USA — The Arkansas court system will remain open, but the Arkansas Supreme Court has suspended all in-person proceedings in all appellate, circuit, and district courts, with a few exceptions. 

The changes are a response to the spread of COVID-19.

The suspension will last from Mar.18 to Apr. 3 and might be adjusted by order of the court as circumstances warrant. 

The suspension of in-person judicial proceedings is subject to the following exceptions:

Proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and juveniles, including, but not limited to:

  • criminal initial appearances
  • probable-cause hearings
  • Speedy trial
  • Cases in which victims are under fourteen years of age
  • Juvenile probable cause hearings
  • Juvenile detention hearings
  • Hearings on writs of habeas corpus

Others include proceedings in which civil or criminal jury trials are already in progress as of March 17; cases pertaining to relief from abuse; proceedings directly related to the COVID-I9 public health emergency; oral arguments regarding time-sensitive matters; and others.

Additional exceptions may be approved by the chief justice. Judges shall be responsible for ensuring that core constitutional functions and rights are protected.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Arkansas: What you need to know

RELATED: List of things closed/postponed around Northwest Arkansas due to coronavirus

The administrative judge of each judicial circuit is authorized to determine the manner in which the in-person exceptions are to be implemented. Any civil proceedings conducted in person shall be limited to the attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers, a press-pool representative, and other individuals necessary to the proceedings as determined by the judge presiding over the proceedings.

To read more of this story, visit our partner in content Talk News & Politics.