At our core, we’re in the business helping folks. That singular mission drives every decision that our team and I make at The Law Offices of Kyle D. Pierce. Even in these times where the President has declared a national emergency and the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic, that doesn’t change.
As we navigate the next few weeks, our office will remain open and doing work on behalf of our clients that meets our mission while achieving our clients’ goals.
The manner in which that work gets done is changing drastically in the interim.
This still very much a fluid situation, but as of the writing of this post – almost all in person hearings in Alabama set for the next thirty days have been continued and almost all in person hearings set through the end of April in Etowah County have been continued. There are some important exceptions, so if you have any questions about your specific case, please contact our office to help clear up any issues. In addition, individual letters, text messages, and phone calls will be going out to every effected client over the next few days.
Those exceptions run a little different based on the location and type of case, but, generally:
The Supreme Court of Alabama issued an Administrative Order (linked below) continuing all in person court appearances for the next thirty days. This order includes all courts in Alabama, but there for a few exceptions such as
- Emergency hearings
- Hearings concerning a constitutional issues
At the same time, Judge Ogletree, Presiding Judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit of Alabama has issued an Administrative Order (linked blow) which continues all matters set with any state court in Etowah County before the end of April. His order outlines methods that some hearings may still occur via teleconference, if demanded so forty eight hours or more in advance, so it is important to be on the lookout for specific information about your case as it is sent by the this office. Again, if you have any specific questions or concerns, please reach out to our office.
As for us, the Law Offices of Kyle D. Pierce Team has instituted some policy changes necessary to ensure our safety and continued ability to work for you. Those are:
- If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, you are able to cancel any meeting without penalty.
- Any employee experiencing any symptoms of illness will be provided paid sick leave through the end of March.
- We will attempt to work remotely as much as prudent.
- We will continue meeting clients in person. However, we encourage all clients and potential clients to meet with us via phone or video conference, unless absolutely necessary to meet in person. To that end, all currently schedule in person meetings remain on the books, but we may call prior to setup a phone or video call if the subject matter and meeting goals allow for such.
In short, we want to keep working for you; we will keep working for you, but there’s some changes ahead in the short term as we follow the lead of the Supreme Court and Circuit Court to do what is best to help keep people healthy.
This all keeps changing regularly. If it does, we’ll continue to keep you updated.
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER FOR ETOWAH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT – cov-19-order-final-1.pdf
THE SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA’S ORDER – cov-19-order-final.pdf
FILED MAR l 3 ·
I N THE SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA
RE: C O V I D – 1 9 PANDEMIC EMERGENCY RESPONSE
March 13, 2020
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER SUSPENDING ALL IN-PERSON COURT PROCEEDINGS FOR THE NEXT THIRTY DAYS
The President of the United States having declared a national emergency and the Governor of Alabama having declared a state of emergency for the State of Alabama amid the Coronavi rus Disease 2019 (“COVID- 19” ) pandemic, the Supreme Court of Alabama, pursuant to the authority vested in it under Article VI, §§ 139, 140, and 150, Ala. Const. 1901, hereby declares a state of emergency for the entire Judicial Branch of the State of Alabama .
The local and state courts of the State of Alabama are open and will remain open under all circumstances, subject to the provisions of this order .
Under the constitutional , statutory , and inherent authority of the Supreme Court, we adopt the following provisions . All in- person proceedings in all state and local courts in Alabama, including, but not limited t o, proceedings in the circuit court, district court (including cases on the small claims docket) , juvenile court , municipal court , probate court, and appellate courts, are suspended beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 through Thursday, April 16, 2020, subject to the exceptions below .
Exceptions to this suspension of in-person court proceedings include, but are not limited to:
• Proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants , including bond- related matters and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals .
• Civil and criminal jury trials that are in progress as of March 13, 2020.
• Proceedings related to protection from abuse.
• Proceedings related to emergency child custody and
protection orders .
• Department of Human Resources emergency matters related
to child protection .
• Proceedings related to petitions for temporary injunctive relief .
• Proceedings related to emergency mental health orders .
• Proceedings related to emergency protection of elderly
or vulnerable persons .
• Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public
health emergency .
• Any emergent proceeding as needed by law enforcement. • Other exceptions as approved by the Chief Justice.
The presiding judge or the designee of the presiding judge of each judicial circuit is authorized to determine the manner in which in-person court proceedings for the exceptions listed above are to be conducted. Other exceptions to the suspension of in-person court proceedings must be approved by the Chief
Justice . Any permitted in- court to attorneys , parties , witnesses , necessary persons , as determined
proceedings shall be limited security officers , and other
by the trial judge .
Judges are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that core constitutional functions and rights are protected. Additionally, court clerks are charged with ensuring that court functions continue . Nevertheless , all judges and court clerks are urged to limit in-person courtroom contact as much as possible by utilizing available technologies, including electronic filing , teleconferencing , and videoconferencing . Any Alabama state or local rule , cri minal or civil , that impedes a judge’ s or court clerk’ s ability to utilize available technologies to limit in-person contact is suspended until April 16, 2020 .
This order expressly does not prohibit court proceedings by telephone, video, teleconferencing, or other means that do not involve in- person contact . This order does not affect courts’ consideration of matters that can be resolved without in- person proceedings .
Any deadlines that are set by or subject to regulation by this Court that are set to expire between March 16, 2020 and April 16, 2020 , are hereby extended to April 20 , 2020 . This Court cannot extend any statutory period of repose or statute of limitations period .
Orders of protection and temporary injunctions that would otherwise expire between March 16, 2020, and April 16, 2020, are hereby extended until April 16, 2020, unless the trial court elects to enter an order to the contrary.
This order is subject to modification, revision, or rescission by the Supreme Court at any time during the time periods stated herein .
Parker, C.J., Bolin, Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur.
Witness my hand and searr~ cy~ f~ . ~#~ JordaiV’~eller
Clerk , Supreme Court of Alabama