During the COVID-19 outbreak, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has exercised her authority under G.S. 7A-39(b)(2) to issue orders imposing 22 emergency directives to ensure the continuing operation of the courts. Such emergency orders expire no later than 30 days from their issuance, though they may be renewed for additional 30-day periods. Because the orders imposing the directives were issued on differing dates, they have expired and have been renewed on differing schedules. The Chief Justice entered the latest renewal order yesterday. This post will review the directives that are currently in place, including those related to the eventual resumption of jury trials.
Tag Archives: 7A-39
This post was updated on May 22, 2020 to include discussion of a May 21, 2020 order extending deadlines in criminal cases and a May 14, 2020 order from the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered an order today imposing eight new emergency directives (Directives 9 -16) to address court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chief Justice entered a separate order extending time for documents to be filed and acts due to be done in criminal cases in the trial courts.
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered an order yesterday extending until June 1, 2020 the time and periods of limitations for documents and papers due to be filed and acts due to be done in the trial courts. The Chief Justice previously had extended to April 17, 2020 the deadline for filings, periods of limitation and other acts. She further extended those deadlines based on predictions that late April “may be the apex of the [COVID-19] outbreak in North Carolina.” Continue reading →
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered an order last Thursday, April 2, 2020, imposing emergency directives that were immediately effective and that affect criminal cases.
Legal authority. The Chief Justice’s order was entered pursuant to G.S. 7A-39(b)(2), which permits the Chief Justice, after determining or declaring that catastrophic conditions exist in one or more counties of the state, to issue emergency directives necessary to ensure the continuing operation of essential trial or appellate court functions. Such directives are effective notwithstanding any other provision of law. Continue reading →
Executive Order 118. Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 118 on Tuesday, directing bars to close and restricting restaurants to selling food only for carry-out, drive through, delivery, and onsite consumption in outdoor seating areas, subject to mass gathering seating restrictions. Restaurants are broadly defined to include permitted food establishments, cafeterias, food halls, dining halls, food kiosks at airports and shopping centers or educational institutions, food courts, and private or members-only clubs where food and beverages may be consumed on premises.
The order does not affect the sale or distribution of prepared food by grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, or charitable food distribution sites. It does, however, bar sit-down food or beverage services within those facilities.
Note: The same day this order was issued, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) entered an Order of Abatement of Imminent Hazard that restricted restaurants to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery. The abatement order did not permit onsite consumption in outdoor eating areas. As explained in this frequently asked questions document, restaurants thus were required by the DHHS order to close all seating areas.
Legal authority. During a state of emergency, the Governor may impose by declaration certain prohibitions in the emergency area. G.S. 166A-19.30(c). The Governor has such authority if he or she determines that local control is insufficient to protect lives or property because, for example, the emergency crosses jurisdictional boundaries and local measures are conflicting or uncoordinated in a way that severely hampers protection efforts. Id. The Governor also may take such action when the scale of the emergency exceeds the capabilities of local authorities to cope with it. Id.
When the Governor acts pursuant to this authority, he or she may impose any of the types of prohibitions that local governments may impose under G.S. 166A-19.31. Among those types of prohibitions are prohibiting or restricting the operation of business establishments and other places to or from which people may travel or at which they may congregate. G.S. 166A-19.31(c)(2).
As with Executive Order 117, the Governor has directed that the provisions of Executive Order 118 be enforced by state and local law enforcement officers. Violation of such an order is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Extension of deadlines. Earlier today, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered an order extending filing deadlines and limitations periods in certain cases. The Chief Justice entered this order pursuant to G.S. 7A-39(b)(1), which permits her to extend deadlines and limitations periods upon a determination that catastrophic conditions exist or have existed in one or more counties of the state.
Today’s order provides that any pleading, motion, notice, or other document or paper that was or is due to be filed in any county on or after March 16, 2020 and before the close of business on April 17, 2020 in a civil action, criminal action, estates, or special proceeding is timely filed if filed before the close of business on April 17, 2020.
The Chief Justice further ordered that all other acts that were or will be due to be done in any county on or after March 16, 2020, and before the close of business on April 17, 2020, in civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings are timely if done before the close of business on April 17, 2020.
The order does not apply to documents and papers due to be filed or acts due to be done in the appellate courts.
On Friday, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered two emergency directives to reduce the spread of infection from COVID-19. On Saturday, Governor Roy Cooper entered an executive order prohibiting mass gatherings and ordering the statewide closure of public schools.