On Monday, the Comanche County District Judges signed an administrative order that offers a roadmap for getting the legal process back into gear.
District Judge Emmit Tayloe sent The Constitution a copy of the administrative order that follows the June 1 reopening of the Comanche County Courthouse. The order is intended to offer a guide to an orderly transition to allow court hearings to resume in light of the COVID-19 disaster.
The order is intended to offer compliance with the Emergency Joint Orders entered jointly by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
The order stipulates that civil and criminal jury trials will be postponed until the docket scheduled for Sept. 28, unless modified by a further order.
Civil and non-jury criminal hearings and other matters may begin June 1 subject to several restrictions:
•No more than 10 people including the judge and court personnel will be allowed in the courtroom at any time. Dockets exceeding this limit will be suspended until further notice.
•All CDC issued COVID-19 precautions are to be followed.
•Any hearings or portions that can be accomplished via teleconferencing or video conferencing will be conducted in those manners.
No one is allowed to enter any courtroom, court clerk’s office, judges’ offices, jury room or any other facility if they meet any of the following conditions:
•They have been diagnosed with or have direct contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.
•They have symptoms such as fever, severe cough, or shortness of breath.
•They have traveled to any country outside of the U.S. in the past 14 days or if they have had contact with anyone they live with or have had close contact with that meet that criteria.
•They are quarantined or isolated by any doctor or who voluntarily quarantine.
All people entering the court facilities are required to wear a face covering for their nose and mouth. Social distancing is to be practiced at all times.
The order is subject to extension or modification as necessary by the emergency.
District Judges Tayloe, Gerald Neuwirth, Irma Newburn and Scott Meaders signed onto the order.