On March 16, 2020, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an order in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 (commonly “coronavirus”) after it was declared as a pandemic by national and state agencies. The order states that the Courts will remain open but all in-person court operations have been suspended between March 17, 2020 and April 3, 2020. With a few exceptions, most court operations such as jury trials, court trials, and court appearances will be continued to later dates to be determined. This order affects all the circuit court, associate, family, juvenile, municipal, and probate divisions. It must be stressed that the Courts will remain open. The Circuit Clerks offices will remain open and will help with questions and with normal court procedures.
The Circuit Court of the 27th Judicial Circuit is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19. The outbreak is understandably causing concerns in our community and those within our local judicial system. The Court’s response to this threat is being guided to by two overriding and important principles; to maintain court operations in a way to minimize the risk of exposure at our court facility, and to keep the Courts accessible to ensure justice for the citizens of our community.
The Court will draw upon the guidance from our local public health departments, local healthcare facilities, national health care agencies and departments, as well as from the National Center for State Courts and the Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator. As the experts at the local and national levels develop additional strategies to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court will continue to reevaluate and amend its responses.
The Circuit Court remains sensitive to the health concerns of all court participates including citizens, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, and court employees. At the same time, the Court must recognize that court services to our community are essential to the safety of our community and to the interest of justice. Due to the fact that the situation regarding COVID-19 is very fluid and changing rapidly, the Court will continue to provide updates and modifications as needed.
M. Brandon Baker, Presiding Judge