Berkeley County courts adjust to new COVID-19 protocols

Coronavirus

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — When a judicial branch employee in West Virginia’s capital city, Charleston, tested positive last weekend for the coronavirus, the state supreme court ordered that all proceedings be vacated unless they are urgent. Even then, preferably by video conference or telephone.

Martinsburg lawyer sees the impact on the Berkeley County judiciary. Discretionary matters and things that are not time sensitive are being continued, he says. New social distancing protocols demand that hearings are rescheduled.

The drug court program, where eligible first-time, non-violent offenders can conditionally avoid jail is on hold.

Martinsburg bail bondsman Tommy Weatherholtz sees the changes in the judicial system first-hand. Access to the court clerk is blocked now. Judges and magistrates, he says, “are trying not to send people to jail.”

The new judicial procedures apply to all 55 West Virginia counties and are in effect until April 10.


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