ROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times
Kansas 26th Judicial District Chief Judge Brad Ambrosier issued an administrative order Monday regarding court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order stated due to the significant risk of severe public health consequences and due to the recommendations from local public health authorities, effective Monday, the following are ordered:
1. The 26th Judicial District Court will remain open. The staff in the clerk’s office will remain open for filings, including contact by phone.
2. Electronic filings may still be made through the electronic filing system.
3. All jury trials, civil and criminal, scheduled through May 1 are continued pending further order of the court.
4. All non-jury court proceedings scheduled for an in-court appearance through May 1 may be continued by the presiding judge.
5. In criminal cases, the court has reduced ability to obtain an adequate spectrum of jurors.
“COVID-19 dictates consideration of the health and welfare of our citizen jurors,” the order said. “The availability of counsel and court staff is also impacted. Therefore the time period of the continuances implemented by this order is tolled. The court specifically finds this public health concern demands that the court take all precautions to protect the health of the public and judicial branch employees alike.”
6. The court will continue to hear matters in person as determined by the presiding judge. Judges will remain available at their office, and the use of telephonic hearings, when reasonable and allowed by law, is encouraged.
The 26th Judicial District includes Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Morton, Stevens and Seward counties in Southwest Kansas.