In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Supreme Court of Missouri has extended through Friday, May 15, its statewide suspension of most in-person proceedings, subject to certain listed exceptions for urgent matters required under the constitution or state law or otherwise necessary to protect health or safety.
Despite the restrictions, the state’s courts remain open to conduct necessary business, though access to court buildings – including the Supreme Court Building – has been limited to help prevent the spread of the disease. The Court’s order does not affect a court’s ability to consider or rule on matters and does not affect required deadlines through the state’s electronic filing system.
The Court’s order (available at https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=155033) authorizes local courts to determine how best to conduct the excepted proceedings and other necessary court business. The Missouri Courts COVID-19 alert page – https://www.courts.mo.gov/pandemic/, launched March 13 – links to the various orders and notices issued by the Court, the three districts of the Missouri Court of Appeals, each of the state’s 115 circuit courts and a growing number of the state’s stand-alone municipal divisions. This web page is updated throughout each day as new information become available. Individuals with questions about the status of particular cases should check Case.net, sign up for alerts through Case.net’s Track This Case tool, ask their attorney or contact the local clerk’s office.
The Court also suspended until further order any state or local court rule that could be interpreted to require the personal appearance of a defendant at a criminal or ordinance violation hearing or proceeding. This order, which does not pertain to constitutional or statutory provisions, is available at https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=154993.
As information about and best practices for dealing with COVID-19 continue to evolve, the Court will continue to discuss how best to balance the health and safety of the public, judges and court staff statewide with the judicial branch’s responsibility to uphold the constitutional rights of litigants seeking redress and other core constitutional functions.