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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Court Hearings During the Limited Suspension Period

Please see below for general information on how the Criminal Court will operate during the limited suspension period.


To see the specific Criminal Court protocols, please click here

Court Hearings

Will the Criminal Court be holding “in-person” hearings?

Yes, but only under limited and special circumstances. 


The Court will conduct “in-person” proceedings only when (1) “necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants”; and (2) technology, such as telephone or videoconferencing, cannot be used. 


Will the Criminal Court hear cases by videoconference or telephone?

Yes, at least in some cases.  Using current technology, the Court will conduct arraignments for those in custody, as usual.  The Court will also hear agreed resolutions of probation violations through video conferencing. 


Working with Hamilton County government, the Court has developing other solutions to accept pleas and to hold evidentiary hearings by video conference.  During the Limited Suspension Period through April 30, 2020, the Court is using Cisco’s Webex to hold video-conference proceedings.  These proceedings involve both defendants who are in custody and those who are on release. 


These video-conference proceedings are scheduled at specific times.  For all hearings, the Webex room can be found at https://hamiltontn.webex.com/join/Division2


My case must be heard during the Suspension Period. What can I do?

The Court has reviewed its dockets coming up during the Suspension Period, and it has already specially scheduled some cases for “in-person” proceedings or by videoconferencing consistent with the original and supplemental Suspension Orders.


However, if you believe that your case must be heard during the Suspension Period, please submit the request to the appropriate Division below to notify the Court of the request to be heard.


What happens after I submit a Request to be Heard?

After the Court receives a request to be heard, the Court will first determine whether it can act without holding an “in-person” proceeding, such as by way of telephone or videoconferencing. 


If an “in-person” proceeding must be held, the Court may specially schedule the case for a specific time.  Please know that the Court will schedule an “in-person” proceeding only if

  • the Court believes that proceedings cannot otherwise be conducted by telephone or videoconference; and

 

  • the matter is “necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants."

Requests for "In-Person" Hearings

First Division Cases (Judge Steelman)

Second Division Cases (Judge Greenholtz)

Third Division Cases (Judge Poole)