Cass County Courts restart jury trials, reopen building

CASSOPOLIS – This month, the Law and Courts Building in Cassopolis, which houses the Cass County Courts and the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office, reopened to the public after months of restricted access due to COVID-19.

The Cass County Courts moved to Phase 3 effective June 7. Courts take their guidance on COVID-19 restrictions and requirements from the Michigan Supreme Court on topics such as masks, social distancing, public access, as well as trial administration.

“Throughout the pandemic, the Cass County Courts remained agile moving from in-person proceedings to Zoom proceedings, moving from mostly in-person filings of pleadings to mostly pleadings filed by email,” said Cass County Chief Judge Susan L. Dobrich.

Jury trials restarted June 8. The first two felony jury trials since COVID-19 restrictions were put into place with Cass County’s IT Department faciliting technology to connect all three courtrooms so that jurors could be spread out to safely conduct jury selection.

Dobrich said restarting jury trials is important as criminal defendants have a constitutional right to an in-person jury trial. While jury trials could not be host, cases became backlogged.

“We have kept our Court cases moving and processed in a timely manner with the exception of jury trials which could not be held as a result of restrictions put in place by the Michigan Supreme Court,” Dobrich said.

Pursuant to the Phase 3 requirements, all three Cass County Courts will continue to conduct the majority of their proceedings virtually via Zoom to provide timely case administration in a safe manner.

The public will not be admitted to court hearings at this time because of social distancing requirements in Phase 3. However, court proceedings will continue to be live streamed on the courts’ YouTube channels to continue providing public access.

Cass County

Former SMC instructor accepts plea deal in sexual misconduct case

Cass County

Vandalia resident sentenced to 10 months in jail for drug offense

Berrien County

Students experiencing homelessness remain hard to identify after year with remote education

Cass County

Dowagiac man heading back to prison on weapons charges

Dowagiac

Earl’s BBQ a hit at Summer in The City

Dowagiac

Local firefighter celebrates 30 years of service

Dowagiac

Emily Schrock returns to SMC in alumni position

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Rotary Club breaks ground on centennial sign

Buchanan

Podcast tells Buchanan’s story through eyes of its residents

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Fifth annual Open Header Cruise sets participation record

Cass County

Following name change, Heritage Southwest unveils new signs, website

News

Man found hiding in tree fort after deliberately sideswiping another vehicle in Barron Lake Thursday

Dowagiac

Detectives seek charges against two residents following Wayne Township drug investigation

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg museum offering spaces for US-12 garage sale

Dowagiac

Gold medal gymnast Shannon Miller promotes importance of women’s health in new Ascension campaign

Brandywine Education

PAW Inc. to present ‘Legally Blonde Jr.’ this weekend

News

Niles District Library lecture series explores the life of 18th Century British soldier

Business

PHOTO STORY: Young Professionals see good turnout at third annual Paddlin’ Poker Run

Berrien County

Portage Road construction scheduled to begin Monday

Business

New Dowagiac vacation rental hosts Chamber After Hours event

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg mural takes shape

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 14-20

Education

Edwardsburg schools will not require masks, quarantining come fall

Buchanan

New pet grooming spa opens in Buchanan