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Kentucky Supreme Court will not be in session through May 31.

The Supreme Court order restricts dockets, jury trials and jury service from taking place in-person at court facilities and requires court proceedings to be conducted remotely.

In an email to justices, judges, circuit court clerks and court personnel, Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr., said, “Thank you for your efforts to observe strict social distancing.  The COVID-19 outbreak is by no means over and we must continue to be vigilant, both professionally and personally, so that we and those we come into contact with can stay safe and well.”

The Supreme Court also issued a new emergency release schedule and emergency pretrial drug testing standards to help protect the health and safety of its criminal justice partners and defendants housed in county jails, which will also be in effect until May 31. 

The emergency release schedule temporarily expands the current Administrative Release Program, which expedites the pretrial release of low- to moderate-risk defendants charged with nonviolent, nonsexual misdemeanors:

--Those who are charged with, or arrested for failure to appear on, any nonviolent/nonsexual misdemeanor and/or Class D felony (including defendants arrested on an indictment warrant) and have not been assessed as a high risk for new criminal activity shall be released on recognizance.

--A defendant charged with any nonviolent/nonsexual Class D felony, is a high risk for failure to appear, or has previously failed to appear on any nonviolent/nonsexual misdemeanor or Class D felony shall be supervised by Pretrial Services.

--Anyone served with a warrant for nonpayment of court costs, fees or fines or with a warrant for failure to appear on a violation shall be cited and released and a show cause hearing shall be set after May 31.

--People arrested for contempt of court on civil matters (excluding any violation of a protective order), nonpayment of child support or nonpayment of restitution shall be released on recognizance and a show cause hearing shall be set after May 31, 2020.

--Defendants not released under this schedule or under the current Administrative Release Program shall be reviewed by a judge within 12 hours of their arrest.

Ongoing court updates are available at https://kycourts.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx.

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