Most jury trials postponed in Cape Fear region next week

Most jury trials postponed in Cape Fear region next week
Jury trials have been postponed due to coronavirus concerns

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Ben David, district attorney for New Hanover and Pender counties, and Jon David, district attorney for Brunswick, Bladen, and Columbus counties, say due to coronavirus concerns, most trials have been postponed.

Clerk of Superior Court James MacCallum (right) and District Attorney Jon David in front of the Brunswick County Courthouse
Clerk of Superior Court James MacCallum (right) and District Attorney Jon David in front of the Brunswick County Courthouse (Source: Jon David)

District and superior courts for Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties have been cancelled for the week of Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, except for defendants currently in jail.

“Although the courthouses remain open, we will only handle a limited number of matters on a case-by-case basis as justice requires and proceedings for the purpose of individuals seeking emergency relief. Our goal is to reduce the spread of infection by limiting the number of people who are required to come to the courthouse,” a press release said Friday.

Friday night, New Hanover and Pender County courts confirmed they would only be open for the following proceedings:

Criminal Courts:

• First Appearances (jail defendants only)

• Bond hearings (jail defendants only)

• Probation hearings (jail defendants only)

• Probable cause hearings (jail defendants only)

• And any other non-jury hearings for jail defendants

Civil Courts:

• Domestic Violence Protective Orders

• Temporary Restraining Orders

• Juvenile Custody Orders

• Civil Commitment Orders

• All small claims actions

• Special Proceedings

• Estate Proceedings

At least one murder trial is still on the docket for Monday in Bladen County.

“Superior Court judges have the discretion to continue jury trials which are currently in progress,” Jon David said. “In Bladen County, we are in jury selection in the murder trial of James McKamey. Unless Judge Douglas Sasser orders otherwise, jurors are to report as scheduled on Monday morning to resume their service.”

Below is an easy to read memo about court closings from the NC Superior and District Courts District 5. If you read this...

Posted by New Hanover County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, March 14, 2020

In addition, the D.A.s are encouraging people with traffic tickets to go online to have their tickets electronically handled rather than appear in court.

Traffic court was held in New Hanover and Bladen counties Friday morning with hand washing stations set up for anyone visiting the courthouses.

“We have installed hand washing stations in front of the courthouse and are taking steps to increase social distance,” Jon David said. “Finally, we are handling the cases of folks who are 65 and older first with the hopes of getting them in and out of the courthouse more quickly.”

District Attorney Ben David pictured with a New Hanover County sheriff's bailiff, and Amy White and Katie Kannan of the DA's office wearing protective gloves
District Attorney Ben David pictured with a New Hanover County sheriff's bailiff, and Amy White and Katie Kannan of the DA's office wearing protective gloves (Source: Ben David)

Click here for traffic tickets to be handled electronically.

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