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First Judicial District Judges submit plan for courtrooms reopening

By Tamas Mondovics

JONESBOROUGH – The judges holding court in the First Judicial District (Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington Counties) announced that the Tennessee Supreme Court has approved the plan submitted by the judges of the First Judicial District that allows in-person hearings and trials to recommence. In a recent press release officials explained that this plan covers all courts in the First Judicial District except for Johnson County General Sessions and Juvenile Court presided over by Judge William Bliss Hawkins. The plan goes into effect May 4, 2020.

Circuit Court Judge Jean Stanley emphasized that, “Throughout this crisis, the courts and court clerks’ offices in all four counties have remained open to successfully serve the public.” Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street stated Judges thank their assistants, the Circuit Court Clerks and Clerk and Masters in all four counties for their professionalism and dedication to the public.

Pursuant to the Tennessee Supreme Court Order issued April 24, 2020, all jury trials remain suspended until July 3, 2020. Judge William Bliss Hawkins, Judge of the General Sessions and Juvenile Courts of Johnson County, has elected to not reopen his court except for limited matters consistent with the Supreme Court’s Order of March 25, 2020. This order suspended in-court proceedings until May 31, 2020.