By Nathan Ham
Some in-person court proceedings will resume on Monday, June 1 as Watauga County Superior Court will be back in session.
While no jury trials for criminal or civil court cases will be held in June or July, starting some in-person court sessions is a small step back to normalcy for the court system. In-person proceedings in criminal cases will be limited to pleas, probation violations, and hearings. For civil cases, court motions and bench trials are the only in-person sessions that will be resuming.
For those who have an upcoming court date, Watauga County Clerk of Court Diane Cornett Deal says that the most important thing for anyone to do first is to reach out to their attorney and find out the exact time to be at the courthouse.
“What we have done is the attorneys will have time slots when they are supposed to come to the courthouse to deal with their cases, not just for criminal but also civil courts and all sorts of matters,” Deal said.
Things such as traffic tickets and citations can be taken care of online at nccourts.gov/services. The clerk of court’s office is also available to help people navigate the online services available.
“They are welcome to call our office and we will try our best to walk them through how to get online and use those services,” said Deal.
As the courthouse does open up to more people with resumed court sessions, safety will still be a major priority to protect both the public and the workers inside the courthouse.
“We will be attempting to take people’s names and phone numbers that come into the courthouse in the event that somebody gets sick, that way we will have a way to reach out to someone that may have been exposed in their time here. The health department is saying this is something we need to do,” says Deal. “We are looking forward to seeing people again at the courthouse, but we realize it’s going to have to be on a very limited basis with everybody still maintaining social distancing, wearing masks and using hand sanitizers. There are just a lot of those safety things we are trying to be aware of.”
People can make an appointment with the clerk’s office if they have anything that needs to be filed and some filings can even be done through the mail. If you have any questions, call the Watauga County Clerk of Superior Court’s office at 828-268-6600.