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.
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:
• 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
• 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.”
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.”
Click here for traffic tickets to be handled electronically.