TARRANT COUNTY CRIMINAL COURT OPERATIONS
COVID-19 has had a substantial effect on the operations of the courts and on law offices. The Tarrant County criminal courts are proceeding with virtual settings, usually with Zoom, when possible. As of now, these virtual settings mostly involve agreed pleas of guilty and agreed sentences. Jury trials have been postponed due to the fear of spreading the virus. There is no clear date as to when jury trials will resume. In the future, the criminal courts will attempt to hold limited in-person dockets. The number of persons allowed to take the elevator may be limited to four persons at a time. This will result in many people taking the stairs to their designated court. It will be important to arrive at the courthouse early to take these changes into account and arrive at court on time. Family members and friends will not be allowed to attend the setting in an effort to limit the number of people in the courthouse and in the courtroom. Face masks will be required inside of the courthouse. It is important that if a person has “indicative symptoms” of the virus, that they do not come to the courthouse or to the law office. Confirmation of the virus should be made with a medical agency and provided to the court and attorney as soon as possible if court setting attendance is required. As the virus situation changes, Court policies will change.
LAW OFFICE OF SHERRY R. ARMSTRONG – COVID-19 AND LAW OFFICE OPERATIONS
As for my law office, I am actively taking cases. I prefer to meet with clients by phone or virtually. In the event that an in-person meeting is necessary, meetings will be done by appointment only, no more than two people are allowed in my office, and face masks are required. Case resolutions are being substantially delayed due to the postponement of jury trials, hearings, limited dockets, and inability to complete community service or programs such as VIP, DWI Education, etc. This will result in cases pending much longer than they did in the past. Patience and communication are imperative with the ever-changing virus situation.