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IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT OF

THE CITY OF NEW HOPE, ALABAMA

 ORDER

                        As a result of and pursuant to the Alabama Supreme Court’s Order of May 13, 2020 it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED as follows:  All in-person proceedings may begin on Monday, May 18, 2020.  The limitations set forth below are designed to not only protect the citizens from any health concerns but also to protect the rights of our citizens’ access to justice in a timely manner.

Masks shall be worn by all participants appearing in the Municipal Court of New Hope, Alabama until further notice.  The mask or face covering shall be sufficient to cover the nose and mouth.  Courtrooms will have designated seating to maintain a six (6) foot separation at all times. Therefore, individuals that are not parties to an action will be limited in their ability to be present in the courtroom.  Witnesses shall be placed on standby and shall wait outside the courtroom until instructed to enter.

Any person who is ill or experiencing any respiratory issues or fever regardless of suspected coronavirus shall not attend any court hearing, trial or proceeding.  Attorneys should inquire of their clients and witnesses if they have experienced any symptoms or diagnosed with COVID-19 and notify the Court immediately.

Public Access to Some Criminal Proceedings.  Because Alabama law recognizes the existence of a general right of the public to have access to some criminal hearings, it is hereby ordered that any person may make a request for access to a criminal court hearing that relates to matters that have traditionally been open to the public.  The individual making the request shall be given permission to enter any court hearing held in this Court as a spectator only, unless the defendant or the City asks that the hearing be closed and “advances an overriding interest that is likely to be prejudiced” if the hearing is made open to the public. Press–Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court of California for Riverside County, 478 U.S. 1 at 7, 106 S. Ct. 2735 at 2739, 92 L. Ed. 21 (1986).  Ex parte Birmingham News Co., 624 So. 2d 1117, 1124–25 (Ala. Crim. App. 1993).

An individual may request access to a criminal court hearing by filing a written request with the court clerk.  The individual making the request shall provide the court clerk with the defendant’s name, the case number, if known, as well as the requester’s e-mail address. Notice of the request shall be provided to the prosecutor and the defendant and, if no objection is filed within 14 days of the notice, the requester will receive an invitation to attend any court hearing held in the case that involves matters that have traditionally been open to the public.  If an objection is made by a party within the time provided, the court shall schedule a hearing to determine whether the request for access should be denied and the hearing closed to the public.  The court also finds that there is a compelling reason to implement this special access rule due to the community safety threat posed by COVID-19 and finds that any burden placed on an individual by these procedures is substantially outweighed by the need to protect the public from further spread of COVID-19.

Attorneys and parties are expected to be on time as the Court schedule will be staggered to address as many cases as possible.  Conflict letters shall be sent to the Court Clerk no later than 10 days before the scheduled hearing to assist the Judge in avoiding scheduling conflicts.

 

          DONE and ORDERED this the 1st day of June, 2020.

                                                                     /s/ Dustin Paseur

                                                                          DUSTIN PASEUR

                                                                              MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGE

Court Clerk – Warrant Magistrate:

Terri Gaffin
Phone:  256-723-2616
Fax:   256-723-5710
citycourtclerk@nehp.net

Municipal Judge: Dustin Paseur
City Prosecutor: Charlie Hooper

Office Hours:   Monday – Friday   8:00 am – 5:00 pm (Lunch 11:30 – 12:30)

Notary Public Services: During operating hours.

Court Dates for 2020: January 23rd, February 27th , March 26th, April 23rd,

                                     May 28th, June 25th, July 23rd, August 27th,

                                     September 24th, October 22nd, November 19th, December 17th

See Court Clerk for accident reports and release for vehicle impounds.   A copy of the following must be supplied by the Owner, for a release of impound vehicles.

  • Owners Driver’s License/Picture ID
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of current Insurance
  • Payment in the amount of $50.00 CASH ONLY

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