As Fannin County officials continue to plan their response to the threat of the coronavirus COVID-19 and halt the spread of the virus within the county, Judge Laurine Blake of the 336th District Court, announced changes to the court’s way of handling cases aimed at cutting the risks to both the public and the court’s staff.


“As the Coronavirus Covid-19 situation unfolds, the Courts receive directives from the Texas Supreme Court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Governor of the State of Texas,” Blake said in a written statement.


The current orders under which the 336th District Court is operating provide the following:


“Courts, by law, must remain open to handle essential proceedings. Please be advised, the 336th District Court remains open to handle essential matters, including, but not limited to Temporary Restraining Orders, Emergency Removal proceedings related to Child Protective Services cases, Juvenile Detention Hearings, and Protective Order hearings. These proceedings may be heard using Zoom technology, as appropriate. When a hearing is held via Zoom, there is no limit on the number of participants. However, if an essential proceeding is held in-person and open court, in no event will the hearing exceed ten (10) people, consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order and the Emergency Orders of the Court of Criminal Appeals and Texas Supreme Court.


“Non-essential proceedings have been delayed until at least April 1, 2020. After April 1, all non-essential proceedings will be eligible for hearing through Zoom technology. The attorneys and litigants will be notified of the hearing times and process to participate remotely, using Zoom technology. This process shall be followed until May 1, 2020,” she said.


All jury trials in the 336th District Court have been canceled through May 1. People who received a jury summons for March 23, 2020, April 6, 2020 or April 13, 2020 jury trials, are excused and not required to report to court, Blake explained.


The 336th District Court Judge and Staff remain available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by phone 903-583-2863 and email at 336DistrictCourtCoordinator@fanninco.net to answer any questions and facilitate case settings. Judge Blake said she will review files as transferred to the Court’s Chambers by the District Clerk’s Office and make decisions as needed. Additionally, she said she remains available to law enforcement for review of search and arrest warrants as well as available to CPS for review of removal requests.


For information on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19, please go to www.cdc.gov.


For more coronavirus news, visit http://www.HeraldDemocrat.com/coronavirus.