CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – As ordered by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Friday, Clarksville City Court has suspended all in-person judicial proceedings until April 1.
Chief Justice Jeff Bivins declared a state of emergency for the judicial branch Friday because of the coronavirus outbreak. The move follows Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order and declaration of a state of emergency on March 12.
Bivins’ order says all Tennessee courts will remain open during the outbreak, but they must suspend all in-person judicial proceedings. It applies to state and local Tennessee courts, including appellate, trial, general sessions, juvenile, and municipal courts.
Clarksville City Court will attempt to call citizens who have court dates set for early next week. Other citizens with court dates in March will be getting letters notifying them of their new dates.
“We basically will not be able to hold any in-person court appearances of any sort in March,” said Chief Court Clerk Ernie Griffith. “This just arrived so we will not be able to get letters out to those who have court dates set for early next week. We will attempt to call if we have phone numbers available.”
Those with existing court dates may call the court at 931-648-4604 to reschedule or email the court at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Public spaces in courthouses tend to be small, tightly packed bench seats that provide the type of situations public health officials have encouraged people to avoid during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Bivins said. “However, judges, court clerks, and others provide essential constitutional functions that must be carried on. In issuing this Order, the Court struck a balance in limiting the public’s exposure to the virus with continuing essential court functions.”