March 13, 2020
Today the Judges of Gregg County have cancelled all jury trials and jury service through March 31. This action is based upon guidance provided by the Office of Court Administration, the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Regional Presiding Judges.
This action is taken to reduce the potential impact of the coronavirus on the parties, jurors, the public, the jail, and court staff. In addition to canceling jury service for the remainder of the month, the judges have also taken the following actions.
The courts will not schedule or conduct large docket calls through April 1 and the judges will not schedule nor conduct “Non-essential” in person court proceedings to the extent possible at least until April 1, 2020. Essential proceedings include, but are not limited to, criminal magistration proceedings, CPS removal hearings, temporary restraining orders / temporary injunctions, juvenile detention hearings, family violence protective orders, emergency guardianship, and certain mental health proceedings.
In addition, conducting a jail docket for pleas and nonjury trials would also be considered an essential hearing. Also, child custody issues in certain circumstances could be considered an essential hearing. Individual judges possess the authority to determine other matters that could constitute an essential proceeding under the circumstances. Further, the courts will, to the extent possible, conduct hearings by telephonic or video remote appearances when the rules of procedure allow or when the parties agree.
The judges will notify the Gregg County Bar Association of these changes. While the Gregg County Courthouse remains open, the public is encouraged to avoid coming to the courthouse if it unnecessary. Many of the services that one needs from the offices in the courthouse can be conducted on line at www.co.gregg.tx.us. This would include requests for birth and death records.
The Gregg County Commissioner’s Court will still meet as scheduled on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. The judges understand that these actions will be inconvenient and cause delays in our judicial system.
However, these actions are being taken to reduce the possible spread of the virus to the degree possible. Again, jury service is cancelled through April 1, 2020.