The 21st Judicial Circuit Court, based in Clayton, Missouri, moved to Phase One of reopening on June 18 after successfully meeting all the criteria set forth by the Missouri Supreme Court. The court had been in Phase Zero since mid-March.
In addition to St. Louis County’s reopening order, which took effect in May, factors include:
- No confirmed cases of COVID-19 inside the court facility in the past 14 days
- Improving health conditions in the community over the previous 14 days, and availability of medical resources
- Consultation with local health officials, and with pertinent judicial parties
(The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court in downtown St. Louis remains in Phase Zero, having not yet met all of the criteria.)
What does this mean for the Family Division and other court business?
At this point, not much will change. As in Phase Zero, under Phase One:
- No jury trials are permitted
- In-person hearings are allowed only for “extraordinary, pressing and urgent” matters
- Video- and teleconferencing are strongly encouraged
- A maximum of 10 people will be allowed in courtrooms and other court areas
- Face masks are required
- Everyone entering the facility will receive a temperature check, and anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted inside the building
Still, this represents progress. According to the Missouri Supreme Court’s directive, court facilities must remain in each phase for a minimum of 14 days before proceeding to the next stage. If all goes well, July 2 would be the earliest date that the 21st Circuit could enter Phase Three. That would allow for more in-person cases to be heard, with courtroom occupancy of up to 25 people. However, courts could also retreat to an earlier phase if community health conditions worsen, or if any employee of that facility tests positive for COVID-19.
The court’s status is reviewed on an ongoing basis, and we will keep our clients apprised of developments. For further details, refer to our blog on the Missouri Supreme Court’s phased reopening plan.
All of us here at Raza & Jones, LLC understand this is a challenging time for our clients. As a family law firm, under St. Louis County’s Order pertaining to COVID-19 we are considered an essential business, and we remain open and available to all our clients. Our entire firm is working remotely, using our Zoom account to meet with clients or speaking by telephone. We are committed to delivering the same high standard of compassionate, effective representation we’re known for, in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Raza & Jones, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions, or to schedule a confidential consultation, call 314-449-8830.