Temporary Changes To District And Magistrate Courts

On Sunday, March 15th, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley asked judicial officials to drastically reduce operations in courthouses throughout the state in an effort to further limit the spread of the coronavirus. The memo updated several directives delivered in her March 13 order limiting operations of the North Carolina court system. Chief Justice Beasley stressed that while courthouses must remain open, officials must drastically curtail trips to local courts to help reduce community transmission of COVID-19 and further protect employees of the courts who must still interact with the public.

“Put simply, it cannot be business as usual for our court system. Non-essential court functions that cannot be accomplished through the use of remote technology must be postponed,” the memo said.

Johnston County Chief District Court Judge Jacquelyn L. Lee issued a Memorandum on Monday indicating specific changes in Johnston County Courts:

Magistrate and Small Claims:
• All small claims and summary ejectment matters are suspended. Pending matters will be continued and rescheduled beyond 30 days
• Marriage ceremonies will continue subject to health precautions
• Criminal magistrates will operate as usual

District Court
Civil Domestic Violence
• Ex parte Domestic Violence Protective Orders will be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00am – 11:00am in District Court
• Magistrates will hear ex parte Domestic Violence Protective Orders at all other times
• Ten day return hearings will be heard as scheduled
• Motions to Show Cause, Motions to Modify or Set Aside, Motions for Returns of Weapons shall be continued beyond 30 days

Civil District (non-domestic)
• All civil district matters will be rescheduled beyond 30 days

• Emergency cases and matters will be heard. All other cases should be rescheduled beyond 30 days

Juvenile Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency
• Hearings for non-secure custody will be held. All other cases will be rescheduled beyond 30 days

Juvenile Delinquency
• Secured custody cases will be heard. First Appearances and Probable Cause hearings will be heard. All other cases will be rescheduled beyond 30 days

Child Support Enforcement (IV-D)
• All cases will be rescheduled beyond 30 days. If Defendant is in custody, check with Chief District Court Judge Lee’s office

• First Appearances will be held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:00am
• Probable Cause and Probation courts will only address defendants who are in custody. All other cases will be rescheduled beyond 30 days
• Defendants in custody for misdemeanors will be addressed upon notice from Sheriff’s Department to District Attorney and Judge Lee’s office
• All other criminal cases shall be continued beyond 30 days

In light of this rapidly evolving public health situation, the Judicial Branch will be providing continuously updated information and answers to frequently asked questions on their website NCcourts.gov. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov as a first resort to determine if a question can be answered without calling the local courthouse.

Online court services are available for handling some court business, including citation services, paying your ticket, court payments, signing up for court date notifications and reminders, eFiling court documents for certain courts and case types, and more.