The statewide court suspension is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the chief justice has declared a state of emergency that will include all Hawkins County courts including Criminal, Circuit, Sessions, Juvenile and Child Support.
Collier said courts will operate only within the following exceptions:
1. Proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants, including bond-related matters and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals.
2. Civil and criminal jury trials that are in progress as of March 13, 2020.
3. Proceedings related to relief from abuse, including but not limited to orders of protection.
4. Proceedings related to emergency child custody orders.
5. Department of Children’s Services emergency matters related to child protection.
6. Proceedings related to petitions for temporary injunctive relief.
7. Proceedings related to emergency mental health orders.
8. Proceedings related to emergency protection of the elderly or vulnerable persons.
9. Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
10. Other exceptions as approved by the chief justice.
Collier said his office will remain open until further notice, but he’s asking the public to utilize electronic transactions whenever possible.
“If it becomes necessary to close this office, we urge the public to use our online payment at www.tncrtinfo.com or our telephone payment center at (423) 347-3131,” Collier said. “Please use these means of payment to limit any possible exposure to our staff during this time. The dates of this order will be in effect until March 31, 2020. If you have any questions or need a reset date due to the interruption of your scheduled date, please contact my office at (423) 272-3397.”