Jury trials canceled through Dec. 31
perations and judicial proceedings inside the Platte County Courthouse are on a limited basis now, after reports indicate at least one worker within the building tested positive for COVID-19.
Sources told The Landmark at least one employee inside the courthouse had tested positive and test results were pending on another early this week.
On Monday, Nov. 2, Presiding Platte County Circuit Judge Thomas Fincham signed an administrative order that places the court under phase one of the Supreme Court operational directives.
Among other things, this phase means no municipal court cases will be heard for those municipalities whose cases are normally heard by the circuit court. The phase does not apply to cities who continue to operate their own municipal courts, such as Riverside, Parkville, Northmoor, Weatherby Lake, Weston or Platte Woods.
The return to phase one for the Platte County Courthouse means large venues and common areas within the building, such as break rooms and canteens, are closed. Drinking fountains are also closed, the order states.
“Occupancy rates in courtrooms and other areas in the courthouse shall be kept at an occupancy rate of 10 or (fewer) whenever possible and shall operate under strict social distancing protocols. Face masks or coverings shall be required in all public court areas and during all court proceedings unless good cause is shown to limit the requirement in a particular proceeding such as for a witness who is testifying,” the order states.
JURY TRIALS CANCELED
The order signed by Judge Fincham says jury trials are canceled through Dec. 31, 2020, or upon approval of the presiding judge.
“The jury commissioner is ordered and authorized to suspend the summoning and impaneling of all petit juries for jury trials set prior to Jan. 1, 2021. Beginning Jan. 4, 2021 jury trials may be held by the judge presiding over the case,” the order states.
Jury trials, when allowed to resume, will be conducted “in compliance with social distancing protocols and in conformance with any Missouri Supreme Court orders or directives.
“The court will continue to evaluate all circumstances and factors that impact the timing and ability to safely resume jury trials. The court will remain in phase one until further order,” Fincham’s order notes.
Face masks or coverings shall be required except when an individual is alone in a private office, according to the order.
The order took effect Monday morning at 8 a.m.