COVID-19 slowing court proceedings across Tennessee

Posted at 5:32 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 20:23:17-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The coronavirus has slowed the wheels of justice.

From judges to lawyers to clients and convicts much has changed.

The Birch Building criminal courthouse in Nashville is typically among the busiest in the state. But by the empty hallways you would not know it.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ordered an end to most all in-person courtroom appearances.

Most hearings are postponed or done by teleconferencing.

For the few criminal cases that do go to court, no more than ten people can be in the room at one time and no one may approach the judge. Social separation is the key.

The civil court clerk has locked the doors. If you need to file a small claims lawsuit the forms sit outside on a table and you use a drop box. Those who wish to challenge traffic tickets or citations will find delays in the process.

What about divorces or custody issues?

“They can be done by video conferencing,” said legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

It is very possible the city leadership will decide to close all Metro offices for weeks including the courts.

For now the delays are sure to postpone some high-profile criminal trials.

The Andrew Delke murder case is set for June, but likely now will be postponed.