Kentucky courts continue to weigh benefits and drawbacks of virtual hearings

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky’s courts likely will continue with virtual hearings. The issue becomes when, where and how the hearings will be held and who decides.

In 17 months dealing with the pandemic, courts at all levels have successfully converted to virtual hearings in many cases. They’ve learned many benefits such as cost savings, increased safety without having to transport inmates, and more efficiency.

But in other cases, clerks, lawyers and judges also have found problems. Bringing the two together is the next step for lawmakers.

“I think there’s a way to navigate through this, I think common sense has to be the rule of the day,” said State Rep. Ed Massey, R-Hebron. “Obviously if there’s a place that doesn’t have adequate equipment or doesn’t have adequate staffing, you have to consider that. On the other hand, if you have places that do have the resources but aren’t using them, as Chairman Westervest said, or making them available, then I find that problematic.”

A committee likely will be established to bring together all the issues and make recommendations.

$11 million has been allocated to help the courts and sheriff’s upgrade resources for virtual hearings.

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