COVID-19 Changes Could Have Long-Term Impact on Courts

Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. updated the legislature Thursday on how the Judicial Branch has responded to the COVID-19 public health crisis. 

To prepare for a phased reopening, which began on Monday, Chief Justice Minton created three task forces to work with judges and circuit clerks. As part of her work with the family court task force, Justice Debra Hembree Lambert -- who lives in Burnside -- recently toured the Pulaski County Detention Center to witness remote hearings from the perspectives of inmates and jail staff. 

Chief Justice Minton said that strict standards for health and safety were paramount in the planning. "One of our guiding principles was the involuntary nature of most court proceedings. People can choose whether to eat at a restaurant or go shopping, but in most instances, they don't get to choose whether they go to court. I think we have, for the most part, struck a delicate balance between addressing our constitutional obligations to hear pending matters while also protecting the health of court staff and the public."

With the courts reconsidering how they do business, the pandemic response may ultimately improve the efficiency of the services they provide.

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