Circuit court directions

Craighead County Sheriff’s Deputy Marcus Gragg, center, directs those appearing in Circuit Court to social distance themselves outside the courthouse Friday morning.

JONESBORO — Craighead County Circuit Court reopened for first appearance hearings Friday and state health guidelines were strictly enforced.

The Supreme Court of Arkansas announced May 8 that courts statewide may resume in-person hearings.

“Presently, video conferencing is preferred over audio conferencing and in-person hearings,” the announcement read. “Courthouses and courtrooms shall continue to comply with guidelines announced by the Arkansas Department of Health regarding public gatherings currently limited to gatherings of no more than 10 people.”

The Second Judicial District announced May 13 that those appearing in court must wear a face covering, like a mask or a bandana. On Friday, attorneys and defendants snaked around the sidewalk on Union Street with cones keeping them apart.

Deputies with the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office were on watch, screening patrons and directing them either to line up or to their vehicles.

“Screenings at the courthouse door will include temperature checks and a wellness inquiry. If you have an upcoming circuit court date, call your attorney for instructions,” the May 13 announcement read. “If you do not have an attorney, you should appear on your circuit court date and follow the instructions of the bailiffs and other court personnel. As only ten people can be in the courtroom at any time, be prepared to wait outside or in your vehicle for your case to be called.”

In-person proceedings in Craighead County District Court resume Monday. District Court handles cases based on the subject matter of criminal, civil, traffic and small claims. Civil cases are handled in the civil division where at least one of the parties is represented by an attorney.

The following time appropriation applies to June 1-17 first appearances for the Western Division in Jonesboro only. Lake City appearance times will not be affected.

Defendants can check their court date at caseinfo.arcourts.gov and appear in court at the appropriated times below:

Last names beginning with A-C: 1 p.m.

D-G: 1:30 p.m.

H-K: 2 p.m.

L-N: 2:30 p.m.

O-R: 3 p.m.

S-V: 3:30 p.m.

W-Z: 4 p.m.

The following time appropriation applies to July 9-23 first appearances for the Eastern Division in Lake City only.

Last names beginning with A-D: 9:30 a.m.

E-H: 10 a.m.

I-L: 10:30 a.m.

M-P: 11 a.m.

Q-T: 11:30 a.m.

U-Z: Noon

Defendants aåre required to answer posted health questions and must have their temperatures taken prior to entry. Face coverings are required before entering the building.

With exceptions for the press, parents accompanying juvenile defendants and defense counsel, those who are not appearing before the judge may not enter.

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