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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 presumption for virtually all matters is that they will be handled by telephone or video conference.


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


Will the Criminal Court hear cases by video conference or telephone?

Yes.   Working with Hamilton County government, the Court now has the ability to conduct arraignments, pleas and other by video conference.  For the foreseeable future, 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.


For answers to frequently asked questions about video conference hearings, please click here.


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 current Suspension Order.


However, if you believe that your case must be heard through an "in-person" hearing during the Suspension Period, please submit the request to the appropriate Division below to notify the Court of the request to be heard.


For hearings and proceedings conducted through video conference, the Second Division is scheduling those proceedings here. 


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 video conferencing. 


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 be appropriately conducted by telephone or video conference; and

 

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

Requests for "In-Person" Hearings Only

First Division Cases (Judge Steelman)

Second Division Cases (Judge Greenholtz)

Third Division Cases (Judge Poole)