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Missouri Courts During COVID-19

Posted by Joshua Wilson | Mar 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

In this ever changing time right now, there have been a lot of closures in the entire Missouri Courts' system. We are up-to-date with all court information and closures.  

Today, the Missouri Supreme Court canceled almost all court activities via Court Order. There are several exceptions. We are open for business and ready to assist people navigate the courts during this difficult time.

Today's Missouri Supreme Court Order states in pertinent part: 

"The courts of the State of Missouri shall remain open.  Nevertheless, pursuant to this Court's constitutional authority to supervise the administration of the state judicial system, see Mo. Const. art. V, §§ 4.1, 8, the Supreme Court of Missouri hereby suspends all in-person proceedings in all appellate and circuit courts – including all associate, family, juvenile, municipal, and probate divisions.  The suspension will last from Tuesday, March 17, 2020, through Friday, April 3, 2020, and may be extended by order of this Court as circumstances may warrant.

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

  • Proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and juveniles;
  • Proceedings in which civil or criminal jury trials are already in progress as of March 16, 2020;
  • Proceedings pursuant to chapter 455 pertaining to orders of protection;
  • Proceedings related to emergency child custody orders;
  • Proceedings related to petitions for temporary restraining orders or other forms of temporary injunctive relief;
  • Proceedings related to emergency mental health orders;
  • Proceedings pursuant to Chapter 475 for emergency guardianship or conservatorship;
  • Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • Oral arguments regarding time-sensitive matters; and
  • Other exceptions approved by the Chief Justice of this Court.

The presiding judge of each circuit court and the chief judges of each appellate court are authorized to determine the manner in which the listed in-person exceptions are to be conducted.  Any proceedings conducted in-person shall be limited to the attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers, and other individuals necessary to the proceedings as determined by the judge presiding over the proceedings.  The judge presiding over such proceedings has the discretion to exercise his or her discretion in excusing jurors or other individuals that cannot or should not appear as a result of risks associated with COVID-19.

All judges and court clerks are encouraged to utilize all available technologies – including e-mail, teleconferencing, and video conferencing – to further limit in-person courtroom appearances.  Any local, criminal, or civil rules that would impede a court clerk or judge's ability to utilize such technologies are hereby suspended until April 3, 2020, and may be extended by order of this Court as circumstances may warrant." (emphasis added) 

Summary

There is a lot to unpack in this order.  First, the Courts are open. Second, while many courts are not having court, there are exceptions that specifically affect families and children. Third, the Supreme Court is encouraging the courts to use video conferencing and technology to continue to conduct business.  This will likely include using products like Zoom and DocuSign to show testimony, evidence and sign documents. Under any circumstances, we are here and ready to assist you. 


At the Joshua Wilson Law Firm, we are ready to assist you with our virtual office capabilities. 

About the Author

Joshua Wilson

Divorce is complex and highly emotional. Everything is going to change, including your most important personal relationships, your finances, your daily routine, and -- of course -- your home life. This can be a stressful time, and the parties involved often are not thinking clearly. You need some...

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