February 11, 2021
Prior to the pandemic, it was extraordinarily rare for the courts to close. It took a very strong snow or ice storm to shut down the courthouse. And then it was usually for only a day or two. The cases missed were quickly rescheduled and notice was sent to the parties. It was understood that the court system was more than just essential; it was one of the basic constitutional foundations of an open and free society. For an extended period of time, the court system shut down nearly completely. Cases that were scheduled in the summer of 2020 still do not have new court dates assigned. At times, attorneys were not allowed into the courthouse, and would be reprimanded for setting foot into the building. One of the most basic constitutional rights, a jury trial, was indefinitely postponed. There simply were no jury trials in Kentucky for the first time in modern history. And while large areas of society opened, the courthouse continues to be closed, with any business being conducted remotely. The remote access greatly discriminates against the poor, who have less access to technology needed to remotely attend court. While shopping malls, restaurants, liquor stores (which never closed), and large retail establishments (which also never closed) are open, a citizen remains banned from the courthouse. Despite the turmoil, our office has remained open every day, and we have helped many clients and families navigate the justice system through these difficult times. Through Zoom, Skype and other platforms, we have attended courts throughout the state, filed lawsuits electronically, attended mediations and settled cases, and continued our 24 hour a day access for our clients. Clients without the ability to remotely access the courts simply come to my office and we do it together. And we safely continue to meet clients at the office or make home visits as needed. While the courthouse is closed, our office remains open to help the people of Kentucky. Let us know if we can help you.