44th Judicial Circuit Reopens Under Phase Two Orders 

The 44th Judicial Circuit has officially reopened this week under Phase Two directives as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, according to Judge Craig Carter.  

Taking action last Friday, Judge Carter released the following:  

“Pursuant to order of the Missouri Supreme Court which provides guidance to the presiding judge of each judicial circuit on the steps that must be taken in order to reopen our circuit courts, and the 44th Judicial Circuit having successfully progressed through Operating Phase One for a period of not less than two weeks, and having reviewed the health conditions of the circuit, I have found that Wright, Douglas, and Ozark counties are favorable for the 44th Judicial Circuit to move to Operating Phase Two on June 1, 2020.  

“The Courts will continue social distancing, and will work to allow vulnerable litigants, witnesses, victims, attorneys, and other individuals involved in court proceedings to participate remotely via audiovisual technology.  

“Vulnerable individuals are defined by the Centers for Disease Control as:

1. Individuals 65 years or older, or

2. Individuals with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including those who suffer from:

1. Chronic lung disease

2. Moderate to severe asthma

3. Serious heart conditions

4. Immune disorders

5. Obesity

6. Diabetes, or

7. Chronic kidney or liver disease

“In summary, the directives contained in the order of the Supreme Court allow courts to reopen in phases, and after meeting certain criteria, may advance through each phase to Operating Phase Three.  The criteria to be considered includes determining the local health conditions in relation to the COVID-19 virus.  Each court must remain in a phase for at least fourteen (14) days prior to advancing to the next higher phase.  Prior to advancing a phase, the Supreme Court’s order also allows a local court to move back in phases if a local health condition deteriorates.  Operating Phase Three is the only phase wherein a court may resume regular jury proceedings, and then only if social distancing protocols can be achieved.  No court may advance back to pre-COVID operations until further order of the Missouri Supeme Court.

“I encourage everyone with any questions to contact the Circuit Clerk for further information about their case.”

The order may be found at www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=156095