End of the line

With the closing of courthouses in all 77 counties, offices here have a drop box for paper work.

In an effort to help lessen the spread of COVID-19, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma has essentially closed courthouses in all 77 counties.

“We admonish all Oklahoma judges, court clerks, court employees and staff and the public to follow the guidelines to protect public health set for in the Governor’s Executive Orders, those issued by the Oklahoma Department of Health and the CDC,” the order from the court said in part.

All jury terms have been cancelled through May 15.

Exceptions include emergency dockets, though no more than 10 people can be in the courtroom at once. 

This order also shuts down marriage licenses and other non-emergency business.

No additional jurors may be summoned without approval of the Chief Justice.

The order continued saying all civil, criminal and juvenile trails will be continued to the next available jury docket.

The statute of limitations will be extended through May 15.

The order states that court clerks and judges will use email, fax, or drop boxes to accept written materials.

“Our office is closed to the public except for emergencies,” said McClain County Court Clerk Kristel Gray.

They are working four staffers at a time and trading days.

“If it’s an emergency like a protective order or a custody order they are allowed to happen. Otherwise, we’re closed,” she said.

The three McClain County Judges, Leah Edwards, Charles Gray and Lee Shilling are trading off days as well.

According to District Judge Leah Edwards, Shilling will be in the courthouse a minimum of every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon.

She was in McClain County this past Tuesday. 

Court clerks and judges will be using email, fax and drop boxes for acceptance of written materials, except for emergencies.

“Pursuant to the Supreme Court Emergency Order and Governor Stitt’s Executive Order, the officials and staff of the District Court of McClain County will be working remotely when possible,” Judge Edwards said.

“The court will continue to ensure that any emergency matters are heard and all arrestees’ bonds are set in a timely manner.

“The court continues to work toward balancing the rights of all litigants while preserving public health of the community,” she continued.

“Anyone needing assistance regarding a case set before me or Judge Shilling is urged to call their offices or email their bailiff at Susan.Peters@oscn.net. Judge Gray’s office can be reached by phone or by email at Anna.Goodman@oscn.net,” the judge concluded.

On the flip side, the McClain County Sheriff’s Department is business as usual.

McClain County Undersheriff Landy Offolter said the Supreme Court order does not affect the sheriff’s department.

“It’s not affecting us at all,” Offolter said.

So far, the order is not affecting Court Clerk Pam Beller’s office.

“As far as my office is concerned, we’re just closed to the public,” Beller said.

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