We have learned how to function without bars and restaurants, with a stripped down government, and no toilet paper.
Now it appears we will learn how to operate with a limited state judicial system.
Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Cheri Beasley issued an order on Thursday, April 2, with more postponements and alterations to the legal process in North Carolina.
According to the press release issued by her office, court proceedings have been postponed again to June 1. On March 13, Judge Beasley postponed most Superior and District court cases for 30 days. This will extend that postponement.
This order also authorizes court proceedings to be conducted by remote audio and video transmissions and allows the use of a sworn statement under penalty of perjury rather than notarization for court filings and oaths.
The order allows the service of court documents by email and extends the payment of most fines and fees by 90 days.
Beasley stated, “We want people to know that they do not need to come to the courthouse right now to pay a traffic ticket. Deadlines for those payments have been extended and licenses will not be suspended until this emergency passes. We want people staying at home and staying safe.”
Clerks of court were also directed not to report the failure to pay fines and fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The order also directs everyone, including attorneys without business before the court, to avoid court facilities.
The North Carolina state courts have been woefully behind the times as far as electronic filing for court documents goes. However, in July 2019, the North Carolina Office of the Courts signed a 10-year, $85 million contract to provide an integrated electronic filing system for the state court system.
If you’re looking for a silver lining in all of these dark clouds, it may be that the effort to conduct as much of the courts’ business as possible without having people gather in the courtroom will result in speeding up the move to an electronic system.