Nashville judges reduce general sessions cases for COVID-19 safety

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Non-essential court appearances may be pushed back months due to a new COVID-19 safety order filed in Davidson County General Sessions court Friday.

Judges filed the order reducing dockets for the next 90 days after getting complaints regarding overcrowding in the Birch Building courthouse.

While the courthouse implemented COVID-19 safety protocols months ago, such as wearing masks and limiting the number of people in courtrooms, there were just too many cases to be heard and the people kept coming.

This week, a tweet by a Nashville attorney gained attention showing the packed halls as people waited to be called into courtrooms.

The halls are now lined with blue X’s for standing and sitting and elevators are reduced to five people instead of six, but general sessions judges say it wasn’t enough.

“This is called a 90-day safety plan. It will start Friday and it will run until March the 7th. It’s a real bare bone kind of docket,” Presiding Judge Sam Coleman told News 2, “We’ve checked with the district attorney, public defenders, the clerk’s office and we’re all-in agreement that this is something we can do to continue to handle the business of the General Sessions court.”

The order goes into effect December 7, but Judge Coleman said it is going to take some time to reduce the dockets based on the less serious cases. They will re-assess again in 90 days.

If your hearing date changes, you will be contacted by the clerk’s office, but you should also check the website.

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