Carter County courthouse reopens, resumes in-person proceedings

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - After being closed for nearly two months by and order from the state supreme court, the Carter County courthouse reopened Monday to select members of the public under strict guidelines.

Attorneys, parties, victims and witnesses are the only ones allowed in right now, according to an administrative order .

Everyone is required to wear a facial covering and either wear gloves or wash their hands frequently.

Court Clerk Renee Bryant said her office in the courthouse has also put up plexiglass sneeze guards and will be cleaning frequently.

"All of the elected officials here at the courthouse, it is our duty to protect the public because we work for the citizens of Carter County," Bryant said. "We want to protect them as much as we can. That's why we have taken such extensive measures."

Court proceedings are also limited to no more than 10 people.

Judges have been staggering the times for hearings to comply since some hearings are done in mass with 20 to 30 people.

Bryant said a jury docket is set for August but that will likely be cancelled soon since the jury selection process begins 30 days prior.

"Because whenever we have a jury docket, on the first day, we have anywhere from 100 to 150 potential jurors in the courtroom," Bryant said. "And, as we all know, we can't do that. We can't risk the public's health."

Bryant said to call her office if there are any questions about court dates.

Payment of fines and costs can be made online, over the phone or by mail.

The courthouse plans to reopen to the general public when the state reaches its third phase of reopening. The goal for that is June 1 if case numbers remain manageable.