Supreme Court addresses evictions, masks

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state Supreme Court issued revised orders Friday, one incorporating some of Gov. Andy Beshear’s eviction procedures and another dealing with witnesses wearing masks while testifying.

Evictions
Administrative Order 2020-64 amends Administrative Order 2020-56, Expansion of Court Services. The amendment converts the eviction proceeding set by the summons into an initial hearing and inserts a 14-day pause before the trial can be set to allow landlords and tenants sufficient time to access available rental assistance through the Healthy at Home Eviction Prevention Fund.

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The fund will be accessible by landlords and tenants as soon as the landlord sends the tenant the notice to vacate, which should reduce the number of eviction cases that are filed.

The 14-day pause provided in this order is intended to benefit the landlords and tenants who were unaware of or could not access the Healthy at Home Eviction Prevention Fund before appearing in court for the eviction proceeding.

In-Person Testimony

Administrative Order 2020-63 amends Administrative Order 2020-55, Health and Safety Requirements. The amendment clarifies that a judge may, in his or her discretion, allow a party, attorney or witness to temporarily remove his or her facial covering if it is necessary to create a clear record and if sufficient social distancing can be maintained while the facial covering is removed.

This change was in response to questions from several judges who expressed concerns about muffled testimony as they prepared to conduct jury trials.