Courthouse is staying open with changes

March 17, 2020

Wise County officials have decided to leave the county courthouse open for the time being, after meeting March 12 with state health department officials.


Circuit court Clerk Jack Kennedy has announced the clerk’s office will reduce hours, from 9-11:30 a.m. and from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

“The new hours reflect time for deputy clerks of court being enabled to wash down and disinfect public access areas and other actions to protect the general welfare during the federal and state declaration of emergency,” Kennedy explained.

The hours are effective Monday until further notice.

Marriage licenses and notary commissions remain available by appointment only.

Electronic case filing will continue.


The Wise County general district and juvenile and domestic relations courts will remain open 9-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m., according to Clerk Sherry Bishop.

All cases for Wednesday and Thursday will be continued to June 12 at the same time as previously scheduled. This will not apply to bond hearings, cases involving an incarcerated person, protective orders or evictions.


Monday afternoon, the Virginia Supreme Court declared a “judicial emergency” in district and circuit courts, in place until April 6.

The order suspends all non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings and extends all deadlines for 21 days.

Further, the order states that courts may limit courtroom attendance to attorneys, parties, necessary witnesses and members of the press in any matters that cannot be postponed.

Also, courts are authorized to consult with local government about whether to prohibit building entry by people who have traveled to high-risk countries or areas within the U.S. suffering from “widespread community transmission” of the virus; people who have been asked to quarantine themselves; people who have been diagnosed with the virus or been in contact with someone who has it; people suffering a fever, cough or shortness or breath.


Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp says his office will stay open.

However, some cases to be presented before the monthly grand jury March 18 will be delayed and some court hearings will be presented by video unless the case requires a defendant to appear in court.

The prosecutor’s office hours will be 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9-11:30 a.m. on Fridays until further notice.

Commissioner of Revenue Doug Mullins’ office is temporarily suspending income tax preparation assistance through March 31. The Virginia income tax filing deadline is May 1.