Crawford County holding court proceedings outside at the sheriff’s office

In Person Hearings In Crawford County Start Again

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. – In-person court in Crawford County is going again. But instead of being held in a courtroom, it’s outside of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.

“Like everything else with this COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had a lot of operational issues that we’ve just had to adjust to, and think outside the box,” says Crawford County Sheriff Danny Smith.

He says that since the pandemic began, and really even before, they’ve held video court for things like first-time appearances and bond hearings. But, a lot of proceedings have to be done in-person. The problem they ran into though is that after a defendant had court, they had to be put under 14 days of isolation at the jail again.

“So this works out really well. Very limited exposure, limited exposure to the defense attorney. It’s an extension of a courtroom,” says Smith.

They held the first hearing outside of the jail at the end of June, where they took care of things like plea agreements.

“I think that it’s very important to try and keep these court hearings going. It’s important for the defendants to have their cases heard or their cases continued or whatever that needs done,” says Smith. “We’re just happy that we can facilitate and have a venue that we can do it with.”

They are not holding jury trials outside of the sheriff’s office though, because a jury seeing a defendant in that setting could be prejudicial against the defendant.