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Crime & Justice
See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Chief Justice Orders 30-Day Halt For In-Person Court Activities

Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte
David Boraks
Civil and criminal jury trials are delayed for 30 days at the Mecklenburg County courthouse. Weddings are by appointment only.

All non-essential in-person activities at North Carolina courts are on hold for 30 days. North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley ordered the move beginning Monday, citing a recent surge in new COVID-19 cases across the state.

Cheri Beasley
Cheri Beasley

While some in-person hearings will continue, many others will be postponed or handled through video conferences. Beasley said the action comes as many courthouses are already reducing operations at the end of the year and as many proceedings are already being handled remotely.

Since March, 291 North Carolina Judicial Branch employees have tested positive for the virus, and courts have shifted many proceedings online. More than half of the state's county courthouses have been partially or completely closed due to COVID-19 - including 11 last week, Beasley said.

“I am gravely concerned with the recent surge in positive cases, but with this new directive, I am confident that potential exposures will be significantly reduced if we work together to adhere to health and safety guidelines,” Beasley said in a press release Friday.

In Mecklenburg County, all criminal and civil jury trials are suspended for 30 days. Grand jury proceedings will continue. Meanwhile, weddings will continue by appointment only.