Berrien Courts Moving Into Next Phase Of Reopening Tomorrow

The Berrien County Trial Court will move into Phase 3 of its reopening plan on Monday. Speaking to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners Thursday, Court Administrator Carrie Smietanka-Haney said this will mean more activity at the courthouse.

“Our court will be allowing more in-person proceedings,” Smietanka-Haney said. “This is in large part going to help us get through a backlog of arraignments that we have experienced here since the beginning of COVID. So we will be beginning walk in arraignments again the beginning of next week.”

Smietanka-Haney said guidance from the state says jury trials should continue to use remote technology for jury selections and jury trials as much as possible. Still, she says the county will have more people coming in person.

“If we’re conducting jury trials, we do need to have any individuals who are coming in to provide their name and contact information.”

That’s for the purpose of contact tracing in case COVID appears in the courthouse. Smietanka-Haney also noted the self-help legal resources center will reopen by appointment in the next week. The courthouse will remain closed to the general public with entrance limited to those who are part of a proceeding or under subpoena.

Source: WSJM
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