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NC Courts Delay Most Proceedings Due To Virus

Cheri Beasley became North Carolina's first African-American female chief justice.
Paul Woolverton
The Fayetteville Observer, via AP
Associate Justices Paul Newby and Robin Hudson applaud for new Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, center, of the N.C. Supreme Court during Beasley's investiture ceremony in Raleigh on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

North Carolina's chief justice has pushed most court proceedings back to at least June in order to promote social distancing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced on Friday that she had issued an order that state superior and district court proceedings be rescheduled until June 1 or later unless they meet certain exceptions. Beasley had previously postponed most court proceedings until mid-April.

Beasley said in an announcement that her top priority was to protect court personnel and the public "by limiting gatherings and foot traffic in our county courthouses, while making sure our courts stay available to serve the public."

The order allows exceptions for proceedings that can be conducted remotely, certain urgent criminal proceedings or emergency relief such as restraining orders and domestic violence protective orders. Chief local judges can also make exceptions if they determine that a hearing can be held in their territory without endangering people's health.

Other provisions of the order include pushing back deadlines for most fines and fees. It suspends the reporting of failures to pay debts to the DMV.

"We want people to know that they do not need to come to the courthouse right now to pay a traffic ticket," she said. "Deadlines for those payments have been extended and licenses will not be suspended until this emergency passes."

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