Jasper County courts holding video, phone hearings amid pandemic

Missouri Supreme Court orders most in-person hearings be suspended through May 1st.

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – The Missouri Supreme Court has ordered that most in-person proceedings, including jury trials, be suspended through May 1st.

Jasper County Presiding Judge Gayle Crane says they are still carrying out hearings, like bond hearings for example, through video and phone conferences.

The courts have been using video calls for bond hearings for a while — but now, many judges and attorneys are doing them from home.

“It was rather labor-intensive at the beginning and out of my comfort zone. But, because the programs are so easy, now, it’s just like I’m sitting at my chambers doing work or sitting on the bench in the courtroom,” says Crane.

But, what does that mean for people who have been accused of a crime? Crane says they’ve been trying to keep things as normal as possible.

“The only thing that isn’t normal would be a trial. People need to contact their attorney’s to find out when they’re next court date will be. If you’re in the jail, however, we are still hearing anything that would come up just like normal,” says Crane.

If anyone that has a hearing doesn’t have access to the internet — or some way to communicate remotely — the supreme court has mandated that the circuit court make their existing public access computers accessible to them.

If you want to read the full order from the Missouri Supreme Court, you can find it below.