Governor Roy Cooper's recent announcement encouraging people to avoid gatherings of more than 100 people presents unique challenges to the state's legal system. Thousands of citizens enter North Carolina's courthouses every day, and the new guidelines are forcing state's attorneys to weigh the benefits of court services against the need to protect citizens from exposure to the coronavirus.
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley says most North Carolinians with court dates in the next several weeks are getting a temporary delay in their cases.
"Effective Monday, March 16, I'm ordering that most district and superior court cases be continued for at least 30 days," says Beasley. "This will allow us to drastically reduce the exposure caused by crowded sessions of court which often bring hundreds of people at a time into our courthouses.”
Beasley adds people who believe they have been exposed to the coronavirus should avoid coming to court. She's also encouraging judicial figures to be liberal in using their discretion to grant relief to those who are unable to appear.
For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here.
Editor's note: transcript lightly edited for clarity