More in-person hearings are scheduled to start in October at the Rock County Courthouse, even as COVID-19 activity remains high in the area, according to an announcement made by the court judiciary.
Starting Monday, Oct. 4, arraignments, pleas, and sentencing, evidentiary, final pretrial and return-on-warrant hearings will be held in person pending the pandemic’s status at that time.
To date, a majority of court hearings have occurred through video conference. A remote option will remain available upon request for the transitioned hearings.
“The court will consider the public health situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic when evaluating such requests. It is helpful if attorneys note in their request whether opposing counsel consents or objects to the request. We encourage parties to confer and file a joint request if possible,” the court announcement states.
All other types of court appearances will continue to be held online via Zoom video conference. Remote call information would continue being sent with hearing notices.
“The court expects that individuals attending by Zoom will dress and act appropriately for a court hearing, be free from other distractions or responsibilities, and ensure a stable, clear Zoom connection throughout the hearing. Individuals who cannot meet these expectations, should consider appearing in person,” the judges wrote.
Rock County has reported 17,484 cases and 190 virus-related deaths since the onset of the pandemic last year. The court had to restrict courthouse access for all services for several months. The courthouse reopened in various capacities in July.