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Courts take action to reduce spread of coronavirus 2019

 

March 17, 2020



Press release

Friday, Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court Mike McGrath issued directives to the Courts in the state of Montana about continuation of services within the judicial branch to assist in flattening the curve of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Pursuant to these directives, all three local courts will be closely examining their dockets and continuing any hearings which are non-essential. The judges will also be speaking with counsel and pro se litigants to see what jury trials can be continued within the constitutional timeframes. If anyone is a pro se litigant in any ongoing case of any type, call the respective court if have had recent changes in contact information, so people can be provided with proper notice of any continuance.

Essential hearings will still need to proceed as scheduled, which may include some jury trials. People who receive a notice to report for jury duty between now and April 30, should call the phone number for the respective court listed on the summons and ask for excusal over the phone if they meet any of the following criteria:

1. Older than 60;

2. Have any chronic underlying health condition;

3. Have recently traveled to China, South Korea and most any of the European nations with the last 14 days;

4. Have had direct contact with a person diagnosed with the virus in the last 14 days; or

5.  Are not feeling well.

 

People who are an attorney, party to an action, or are required to appear in any of the three local courts for any other purpose and meet any of the above criteria should also immediately call the court and ask for further instructions about personally appearing in court.

While the courts will be scaling back hearings to those that are emergent, all three courts and clerk’s offices will continue to work and be available to the public telephonically and electronically. 

People are asked to limit personally appearing at the courts and clerk of court offices unless they are attending a hearing or have been instructed to do so by the clerk after calling in.

In Hill County Justice Court of Record and Havre City Court, citations that are not marked “Must Appear” and have fine, fee and surcharge time pays can be paid online at http://www.citepayusa.com . People who have trouble paying with this method can call the court.

Citations that are not marked “Must Appear” issued by the Montana Highway Patrol and Motor Carrier Services into Hill County Justice Court of Record can be paid through the roadside payment service at the time the citation is issued.

People who need any more assistance on any other matter, can call and ask for instructions.

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Hon. Kaydee N. Snipes-Ruiz – 12th Judicial District Judge

Kathie Vigliotti - Hill County Clerk of District Court 406-400-2331

Hon. Audrey Barger – Hill County Justice of the Peace 406-400-2417

Hon. Janie Hedstrom – Havre City Court 406-265-8575

 

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