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Tennessee Supreme Court Issues Order Requiring Facial Coverings In Courthouses

Posted by John Ballard | Jul 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Tennessee Supreme Court today issued an Order requiring all persons entering a courthouse for the purpose of court-related business to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth. The face covering shall be worn at all times while in the building.

The Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court first issued an Order declaring a judicial emergency in the state on March 13, 2020. The emergency has been extended multiple times through additional Orders. The May 26 Order eased restrictions on in-person hearings, allowed for jury trials to begin after July 3, and allowed judicial districts to continue to operate under their approved plans. Today's Order does not change those provisions and only adds a state-wide face covering requirement.  The face covering requirement is effective Monday, July 13, and continues until further order of the Court.

“The recent uptick in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths required the Court to reconsider how to best keep the public, court staff, and judiciary safe while keeping courts as open and accessible as possible,” Chief Justice Jeff Bivins said.

The face covering requirement is consistent with directives from the Centers for Disease Control, the Tennessee Department of Health, and several Tennessee county mayors. The Order provides several exceptions, including for those under age 12 and individuals with a bona fide medical reason. Face coverings are available for free or low cost at https://tnmasksupply.com. Courthouses are also coordinating with local Tennessee Emergency Management Agency offices to have masks available.

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About the Author

John Ballard

John Ballard is a third generation attorney following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Jack Butler, and his father before him, Howard "General" Butler. Born and raised in Williamson County, John has spent his life in Middle Tennessee. Upon graduating with a Philosophy degree from Samford University, enrolled in Nashville School of Law where he went to school at night while working at his grandfather's law practice in Nashville. After learning the law from one of Nashville's legendary attorney's John spent two years as Judge Seth Norman's court officer in Davidson County Criminal Court Division IV. Working for Judge Norman gave John a unique opportunity to get to know attorneys as well as criminal defendants before graduating Law School in 2014, wherein he was awarded the Moot Court Award. John began his law practice at 1308 Rosa L Parks Blvd with over a dozen of Nashville's best criminal defense attorneys. While developing a criminal defense practice, John learned that there was a need for a robust law practice that could serve many different legal needs of the community. In addition to needing contracts, civil litigation, document generation, often times the community needs someone to help them jump hurdles and cut through red tape. It may be dispute regarding insurance, employment, codes, local government, or regulations, and knowing the right people and how to navigate seemingly complex issues is important. Working to find a solution without litigation is important, but sometimes the only way to resolve an issue is to let the judge decide. John has spent most of his career in court arguing and winning cases in front of juries and judges on a myriad of issues. His background means that he is familiar with not only the courts but the judges, attorneys, and court staff as well. He is comfortable in the courtroom litigating complex issues because he comes prepared and outworks the other side. John has recently moved his main office to Franklin, Tennessee and brings with him the experience, knowledge, and reputation from Nashville, but also as a native to Williamson County.

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