County courts to reopen Monday

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 5/13/20

HERMANN — It appears there are more questions than answers awaiting Gasconade County government and Circuit Court administrators when the courts reopen on May 18 in the midst of the coronavirus …

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County courts to reopen Monday

Posted

HERMANN — It appears there are more questions than answers awaiting Gasconade County government and Circuit Court administrators when the courts reopen on May 18 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the top of the list is how the courts will handle crowd size. If, according to state government protocols, crowd size continues to be limited to 10 people in a given area, just how will courts handle a docket of several dozen cases?

“There are lot of nuances in the guidelines that need to be clarified,” said Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, at Thursday’s session held in Owensville City Hall.

County Clerk Lesa Lietzow agreed. “It’s not simply a matter of unlocking the door,” she said.

Normally, people attending Associate Circuit Court and Circuit Court sessions in the first-floor and second-floor courtrooms crowd into the rooms awaiting their time before the judges. Recesses usually involve those attending the courts to mill around outside the courtrooms.

That could pose a problem given the 6-foot social distancing protocol, as well as the crowd-size guideline. Maintaining a 6-foot distance between people could result in court attendees scattering throughout the Courthouse during recesses or while they await their cases being called.

The 10-person guideline could make for a long day of business in the courts. That total takes into account the judge, a clerk, a court reporter and at least one bailiff. That means only six other people could be in the courtroom at one time.

Also to be decided are issues such as checking the temperature of those coming to the courts, whether masks should be worn and so forth. County government officials were awaiting further word on the protocols from Circuit Court Presiding Judge Ike Lamke.

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