Montgomery County, TN – Starting Monday, July 13th, 2020, a temporary policy that requires the wearing of face coverings for all persons in the courtrooms will go into effect for the 19th Judicial District.
The policy has been established by Jill Bartee Ayers, Presiding Judge 19th Judicial District, Ken Goble, Montgomery County General Sessions Court Presiding Judge and Joel Perry, Robertson County General Sessions Court Judge, and will remain in effect until August 1st, 2020, unless otherwise extended, according to a memo that was shared from the judges.
The temporary policy will go into effect due to the rising number of COVID-19 Coronavirus cases in Montgomery County and Robertson County, in order to protect those who use the court system and those who work in and around the court, consistent with the executive orders of the Montgomery County Mayor and Robertson County Mayor.
The memo states that the decision has been made regarding face coverings in the courtrooms of the 19th Judicial District. The court procedures for reopening which were approved by the TN Supreme Court will remain in full force with the addition of face coverings.
The following are exceptions to the temporary policy: face coverings may be temporarily removed by a witness who is giving testimony, by attorneys as they address the court, and judges and clerks seated in the courtroom during court who are adequately social distanced. Additionally, exceptions noted in the referenced executive orders will be recognized.
The memo further states that each judge will continue to have the authority to require face coverings to be worn at all times in his/her courtroom at his/her discretion. This policy will be announced in the courtrooms and any person after having been personally admonished by the court to wear a face-covering may be ordered to leave the premises and/or be punished for contempt. Each judge is charged with enforcement of the above in his/her courtroom.
The judges request that attorneys encourage their clients to bring and wear their own face coverings, however, the 19th Judicial District in conjunction with Montgomery and Robertson Counties will work diligently to provide face coverings for litigants who appear in the courtrooms without them. The memo also states that there may be times that the demand for face coverings may exceed supply.
Courts will continue to use technology to take up cases via video and teleconferences when possible. For more information about General Sessions Court in Montgomery County, visit mcgtn.org or call 931.648.5700.