The Missouri Supreme Court has suspended all in-person proceedings in all of the state’s courts effective today, March 17, through Friday, April 3, to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

The Missouri Supreme Court has suspended all in-person proceedings in all of the state’s courts effective today, March 17, through Friday, April 3, to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

While the courts will remain open, the face-to-face proceedings will cease in all appellate and circuit courts including all associate, family, juvenile, municipal and probate divisions.

The suspension may be extended by the court as circumstances warrant.

Camden County Circuit Court Jo McElwee said essential court operations will continue. The offices are open and will continue to operate under the guidelines issued by the state court. Trials, preliminary hearings and other functions of the court are suspended. 

This order not only included circuit and associate circuit courts but municipal courts as well. Circuit Clerks are suggesting anyone with a pending legal matter check with the courts prior to their scheduled date. 

The order makes a number of exceptions, however, allowing in-person hearings in such cases as those necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and juveniles, as well as emergency matters, temporary restraining orders and proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency itself.

McElwee said the courts will be using teleconferencing and other alternatives to face-to-face meetings.

In Lake Ozark, Annie Wallander, Lake Ozark Municipal Court clerk, said anyone with a scheduled court date of March 26 is now set for court April 23 the next regularly scheduled court date. Anyone who wishes to plead guilty and pay their fines can do so at City Hall. Pleas and payments can be mailed to Lake Ozark Municipal Court (LOMC), PO Box 370, Lake Ozark, MO 65049. 

Miller County

As a result of the State Court order, the Miller County Court has ordered a limit to who can enter the Miller County Justice Center, or any of its divisions in Miller County.

These restrictions are:

•Persons who have traveled to any foreign country within the last 14 days

•Persons who lived or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to a foreign country within the last 14 days

•Persons who have been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital or health agency

•Persons who have been diagnosed with, or have had contact with, anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19

•Persons with unexplained fever, cough or shortness of breath

For more information, call the Miller County Clerk of Court, 573-369-1980.

Exceptions

The State Supreme Court has listed several exceptions to the suspension of court services. These are:

•Proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and juveniles

•Proceedings in which civil or criminal jury trials are already in progress as of March 16, 2020

•Proceedings pertaining to protection orders

•Proceedings related to emergency child custody orders

•Proceedings related to petitions for temporary restraining orders or other forms of temporary injunctive relief

•Proceedings related to emergency mental health orders

•Proceedings for emergency guardianship or conservatorship

•Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency

•Oral arguments regarding time-sensitive matters

•Other exceptions provided by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

All judges and court clerks are encouraged to use all available technologies – including email, teleconferencing and video conferencing – to further limit in-person courtroom appearances. 

The order does not affect a court’s ability to consider or rule on any matter that does not require an in-person court proceeding.