June Update on Alabama Court and Pardon & Parole Board Re-Opening
The Court system in Alabama is slowly starting to come back to life. The Alabama Supreme Court has passed the buck on the re-opening, leaving it to each individual circuit or court to decide when and how to re-open. This has led to a patchwork of different policies around Alabama’s courts, and has also caused lawyers like us to make lots of phone calls confirming court dates on behalf of clients.
In the past weeks, lawyers from Skier & Associates have made personal appearances in several courts in Alabama, including Elmore County, Prattville Municipal Court, and Talladega County. We have upcoming dates in Montgomery County, Montgomery Municipal Court, and Barbour County. The Federal Courts in the Middle District are also holding in-person hearings. During this time, we have been party to numerous “virtual” hearings and are very pleased with the technology that has facilitated our ability to swiftly move cases through the process.
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles are NOT holding in-person hearings at this time. Stake-holders there are being asked to submit their arguments in writing prior to the hearing. This is not our preferred manner of holding hearings and we encourage the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles to make accommodations for in-person or at the very least virtual hearings upon request of the applicant.
As the courts re-open, our policies remain the same. We are committed to safety for everyone, so while we remain open for business, our physical office remains closed to non-employees. We have found that Zoom is a very effective way to communicate with existing and future clients, so for everyone’s safety we are keeping this policy in place indefinitely. We do have facilities in place for signing of documents or for the presence of clients for virtual hearings that ensure the safety of everyone involved.
We encourage all to exercise basic caution in the face of this viral outbreak. Please maintain social distance, please wash your hands frequently, and please wear a mask if you are in an area with others. If we exercise the appropriate caution, we can limit the virus’ spread until a treatment or vaccine can be developed.