District court to reopen Monday

Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

The State of Arkansas 33rd District Court— Malvern Division recently announced court officials will resume all regular dockets beginning May 18 in Hot Spring County and Grant County, according to District Judge Emily White.
White has emphasized that protocol guidelines and procedures that must be followed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Procedures for managing the dockets have substantially changed. If you have a case pending, please familiarize yourself with these changes. Dockets will continue to be heard in alphabetical order, but grouped together at specific times throughout the day. Upon arrival, litigants must provide a cell phone number to court staff and remain in their vehicles or outside the courthouse until their case is heard," White said.
She mentioned that litigants must bring a mask and wear the mask in the courtroom at all times.
Each district courtroom is equipped with a kiosk area, immediately inside the building. Litigants have an option to conduct hearings via Zoom. Staff will be available to assist with technicalities and a bailiff will monitor all processes.
Before entry into the courtrooms, each litigant and attendant must answer a list of health related questions and may be subject to a temperature check, White said.
Electronic hearings at the kiosk stations will be the preferred method of communication for several weeks; however, for trials the court will allow in-court presentation of evidence.
No more than 10 people will be allowed inside the courtrooms at one time.
"Please be patient with this ever evolving process and please continually refer to this page for updates. Thank you for your careful and safe consideration of all court matters during this time in our history," White said.
The HSC district court has also established a new way to receive payments.
"We have added a mail slot at the back of the building facing Walgreens drive-through for your convenience. Please follow the instructions located above the mail slot," White added. "Thank you for your patience as we work through this virus."
White mentioned that the clerk's office may receive payment via appointments and may pay online. If individuals need to make a payment online, they can visit the website: pay.arcourts.gov.
During this time, White said district court will follow the Supreme Court of Arkansas per curiam orders issued by Chief Justice John Dan Kemp in re-response to the COVID-19 pandemic May 8.
"On March 11, Gov. Hutchinson declared a State of Emergency for Arkansas related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which remains in effect. The courts of the State of Arkansas shall remain open.
Today, we announce that beginning May 18, Arkansas courts in all divisions shall resume conducting hearings with certain measures to combat the spread of the disease to the public, including the employees of the Arkansas judiciary. There is no restriction on the type of case for which hearings shall resume. Courts shall be operational and the Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts have obtained personal protective equipment to assist the courts and counties in the gradual resumption of in-person proceedings where practical," according to Kemp's orders.