West Virginia Supreme Court declares judicial emergency

Published: Mar. 22, 2020 at 10:51 PM EDT
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The West Virginia Supreme Court has issued an administrative order declaring a judicial emergency from March 23, 2020, through April 10, 2020 effecting all 55 counties.

The order aims to limit potential exposure of COVID-19 to suspects, jurors, attorneys, and the general public. The administrative order was developed with input and recommendations of Supreme Court of Appeals justice, as well as circuit judges, family court judges, and magistrates from throughout the state.

Under the March 22, 2020, order declaring a Judicial Emergency, the following:

-Emergency proceedings required to protect the immediate health or safety of a party or the community will still be held, preferably by video conferencing or telephone where appropriate, and will not be delayed or extended.

These emergency matters relate to:

o Domestic violence

o Child abuse and neglect upon initial removal of a child or where

there is an imminent threat to the health or safety of a child

o Infant guardianship

o Physical custody cases involving an imminent threat to the health

or safety of a child

o Juvenile detention or placement in state custody;

o Criminal initial appearances

o Bond hearings

o Search warrants

o Criminal preliminary hearings

o Mental hygiene

o Matters initiated by public health officials to enforce orders related

to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Medical experts have consistently advised that in-person contact should be eliminated in all instances where such limitation is possible," Chief Justice Tim Armstead said. "We believe it is our responsibility to limit such in-person contact to the fullest extent possible while ensuring that our courts address emergency matters necessary to protect the health or safety of our individual citizens and our communities."