“We’ve just come to distrust the government, and it’s the government’s fault.” Judge John Everett Williams, the presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, described how his courtroom is performing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judge WIlliams described the importance of access and flexibility of courts during a frustrating time for the general public. The Court of Criminal Appeals is still holding court in person. Temperatures are checked of all entering the building, hand sanitizer is provided, masks are required, social distancing is practiced and there is a limit of persons allowed in the courtroom at a time.
Judge William’s court has been accessible to the public by appearing in-person, watching live streaming on youtube, or using a toll free call in number to hear the arguments live.
Williams sees Covid-19 as a chance to show that, “government needs to work for the people, and courtrooms are a good example.”
Covid-19 will be an experiment to see what parts of government will adapt and perform during a crisis, and which governmental institutions are barely able to function even without a pandemic.
Below is one of Judge William’s cases as an example.
If you would like to watch more of how Covid-19 is impacting court systems, please visit the YouTube channel TNCourts.