Northumberland courts to hear emergency cases as other county offices close to public

Megan Schiffres

by Megan Schiffres

HEATHSVILLE—In response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, Judge R. Michael McKenney has issued an order to limit court proceedings to essential, emergency hearings and trials in Northumberland, Lancaster and Richmond counties where he presides over the Circuit Court.

Judge McKenney’s order mirrors a declaration of judicial emergency issued by Chief Justice Lemons of the Virginia Supreme Court, which defines essential, emergency cases that will still be considered by the court as quarantine or isolation matters, arraignments, bail or hold hearings and appeals, protective order cases, emergency mental orders, emergency orders necessary for the protection of the elderly or vulnerable persons, and emergency child custody or protection cases.

Cases that do not fall into those categories, which is most cases, are being continued,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jane Wrightson.

If a defendant does not respond to a request that they come to court during this time, the court will issue a summons instead of…

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