Coffee County citizens won’t make up excuses to get out of the jury duty anytime soon, as the state has suspended all jury trials for the rest of the year due to COVID-19.

The Tennessee State Supreme Court has extended its March 13 state of emergency declaration that activated a Continuity of Operations plan for the courts of Tennessee.

"In light of the recent significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee, particularly the rural areas of the State and the Court's receipt of a number of instances of failure to comply with the approved comprehensive written plans of judicial districts by judges, attorneys and litigants, the court feels it necessary to take additional steps to protect all participants in the judicial system and the public at large," the order said.

The order outlines the suspension of jury trials from Nov. 23 - Jan. 31, a reiteration of the previously approved plan, mandatory face coverings will remain in full force, calls for the use of video conferencing when possible and the instruction that judges and attorneys have an ethical obligation to adhere to the comprehensive plan. Additionally, no one testing positive for COVID-19 shall appear in court.

The order is signed by state Chief Justice Jeffery Bivins.      

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