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Virus puts Carbon court on hold

Carbon County officials have released more information regarding a number of cases within various county departments and provided further details on court operations in the coming months.

On Tuesday, President Judge Roger Nanovic signed the eighth amended administrative order of the courts.

It states that positive COVID-19 cases were detected in the sheriff’s office, as well as district attorney’s office, public defender’s office, court IT department and adult probation office.

This meant that the sheriff’s department was “unable to provide any security protection to the court or for any court proceedings,” the order states, adding that the cases in the various court offices left the courts “unable to proceed with any in-court proceedings for which security to ensure the health and safety of court personnel, court users and members of the public is required.”

The county shut down public access to all county operated buildings effective last Thursday until further notice.

Nanovic, in the order said that the court is remaining open only for emergency and essential services until further notice, citing the uncertainty on when the sheriff’s office will be back and able to provide security again and when counsel is available in the district attorney and public defender offices.

He also cites the uncertainty of possible spreading to other court-related offices within the courthouse.

Essential court actions will still be performed, including bail hearings where bail had not previously been set, Gagnon hearings for inmates, bench warrant hearings, juvenile emergency shelter and detention hearings and more outlined by the order.

District magistrate offices will also operate for essential actions only, which include preliminary hearings, emergency protection from abuse petitions and issuing warrants.

All hearings will be scheduled by the court administration or administrative staff at the district judges’ offices.

Jury and non-jury trials, arbitrations, summary appeals and other nonessential matters will be rescheduled.

Hearings before Eileen Diehl involving custody, divorce or support matters are continued.

Marriage license applications will not be processed.

Sentencing that had been scheduled for Nov. 20 and pleas and ARDs for Nov. 24 are continued.

Jury selection and criminal jury trials set for Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 are rescheduled for Jan. 4 with trials being held the week of Jan. 11.

Anyone needing to drop off paperwork for court-related offices can do so by depositing in marked boxes provided by the security desks in the lobbies of the courthouse and 76 Susquehanna St.

For the complete order outlining actions of the court, visit www.carboncourts.com.