As conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are constantly changing, so too are our court systems. On December 22, 2020 the Tennessee Supreme Court passed an Order Extending State of Emergency and Reinstating Suspension of In-Person Court Proceedings. This order has changed many of the everyday proceedings of the General Sessions Court. Beginning on Monday, December 28, 2020 all in-person events will be suspended through Friday, January 29, 2021. Though there are exceptions to this, most cases will be heard via videoconference. This order greatly encourages the use of technology as an alternative means of doing business and states that any state or local rule that impedes the use of technology in place of in-person contact will be suspended until further order.
Along with these new guidelines, the Montgomery County General Sessions Court has passed a Supplemental Administrative Order. Here are the key changes that we will begin to see:
All cases currently scheduled at 9:00am or 1:30pm between December 29, 2020 and January 29, 2021 without an attorney will be reset 6 weeks out.
Cases with an attorney set for this same time period will require the attorney to appear via videoconference and will be heard during the currently scheduled court date.
All arraignments will be reset for 6 weeks out at 10:30am.
The manner in which motions for Criminal Court are filed has also changed.
All Motions to Amend the Conditions of Release (COR) must be filed by an attorney These must be signed by the defendant and include an affidavit from the alleged victim explaining why they no longer feel at risk and want the COR amended.
Motions to Recall Capias (“Blue Motions”) will be given to the Judge to review. There could be a fine that the defendant must pay, however once paid, the capias will be recalled.
Pro Se/non-attorney motions will be given to the Judge to review.
The full Supplemental Administrative Order issued by the Montgomery County General Sessions Court can be found here.