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Courthouse Closed To Public


March 19, 2020

The Pottawatomie Board of County Commissioners held a marathon meeting Monday, just shy of 2.5 hours. The main topic of discussion was possible action of county policy implementation due to the coronavirus.

After much input from the Sheriff’s office, county clerk, district attorney, judges, safety center director and commissioners the only formal decision was authorization to purchase cleaning supplies to slow the spread of the virus on a personal credit card and be reimbursed. The board agreed to keep a close watch on developments.

Tuesday the district court judges held a meeting and agreed they could delay some court cases but others could not be moved.

Judge John Canavan said, “Most civil matters and family law matters can be moved at the court’s discretion. Emergency custody hearing, protective orders, and guardianships where the child has been abandoned, needs medical care or schooling can’t wait weeks or months. The condition needs to be, at least, temporarily resolved.”

“Criminal cases are the least likely to be continued as speedy trial issues and mandated time lines are in place for the majority of the hearings,” said Canavan. “These can be waived, but the defendant needs to do so personally, either by an in-court appearance, a video appearance, or in writing through his attorney.”

Dist. 1 Commissioner Melissa Dennis was looking into alternative methods to continue as much business as possible, Tuesday afternoon. Currently there is a lockbox located in front of the courthouse where citizens can drop tax payments. Dennis was searching for a second lock-box to use for filing papers to be dropped. “These could be retrieved every day and taken inside for filing,” said Dennis.

County Commissioners held a special meeting Wednesday morning to declare a state of emergency for the county and direct the implementation of the courthouse closure.

The Countywide & Sun will bring you news on the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our community for free. Visit our website at and click on the ‘Virus’ tab. Critical and breaking news will be free while we are all working together to get through this national health emergency.


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