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Jury trials stop in Greene Co., court operating under restricted guidelines

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 9:34 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Greene County courts are taking a step back as testing reveals more positive cases of coronavirus.

Many trials and hearings are already on hold because of the virus.

“The Greene County community experience is not improving,” said Presiding Judge Michael Cordonnier

It’s why jury trials will cease in Greene County even though many adjustments were made, to work through the case loads, just a few months ago, despite the pandemic.

“We have good procedures in place for how we do it. I think we already met the challenge. It’s just frustrating that we can’t hear as many cases, on any given day, any given week, that we would like to and that we need to,” he explained.

He says the biggest hurdle is having enough space to maintain safe practices for potential jurors.

“Right now the Greene County experience is deteriorating to the point that, we have have enough cases in Greene County, we just don’t think it’s responsible. The judges here have decided we are not going to try to summon jurors,” said Cordonnier.

For now only emergency cases, like those that may violate a persons rights, bond release hearings, ex-parte orders and cases involving juveniles to name a few.

“In all counties, it’s especially important in a busy county, like Greene County, that we keep cases moving,” he said.

Most proceedings are done in large courtrooms with only a limited amount of people or by phone or video conference.

“Never ignore the notice. Always show up in court. The court will then likely make arrangements for you to not to have to come back if it’s not something you have to be there for,” said Cordonnier.

He says the court is trying to keep cases moving along but with less in person contact.

“It’s very frustrating because the judges here would all like to move ahead as fast as possible and get as many cases completed as possible because that’s what the community needs,” said Cordonnier.

The court will operate under phase one rules until January 4, 2021 but may be extended.

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