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Kentucky Chief Justice: COVID-19 Has Judicial System Adapting, Improving

Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s court system has remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but its operations look very different.  Judicial centers are limiting access to the public and many hearings are taking place virtually.  Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. issued an order postponing jury trials until at least Feb. 1.

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Minton said he felt the decision was necessary until the state gets a better handle on the spread of the virus.

“People can make choices about whether they go out and shop, socialize," Minton said. "They can make those choices, but it you’re summoned for jury duty, that’s not a choice you get to opt out of.”

Chief Justice Minton, a native of Bowling Green, said COVID-19 has improved the efficiency of the court system by utilizing phone and video technology.  He said some of the adaptations made over the past ten months will become more permanent. 

"When you talk about the long-term impact, I'm fond of quoting my friend, the chief justice of Michigan, who said this crisis is not certainly one we wanted, but it may be something we needed to get us to move along, in terms of responding to technology."

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 2,860 new cases of COVID-19 on Jan. 3, a record number for a Sunday, when cases are usually lower due to labs being closed. 

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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