Next Normal: Your visit to municipal court

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Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 8:55 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - U.S. Courts have gone digital since the pandemic began. Many doing virtual hearings through a program called Zoom. If you need to go to municipal court your experience will be much different than it was before COVID-19. So different that you might not even need to physically go to court at all.

Longview Municipal Court Administrator Sally Forbus says, “for most items you do not have to come to the building. You can take care of everything except a bench trial and a jury trial without coming to the building.”

Any information requests, questions about citations, and payment plans can be handled by phone, fax, mail, or online. If you are set for an in-person court appearance in Longview, you’ll be given a mask if you don’t already have one. There’ll also be hand sanitizer and disposable gloves available at the entrance before taking your seat.

Forbus describes the courtroom, “we have designated chairs to maintain social distancing. We have splatter screens around the witness stand in between the judge and the clerk to protect the judge, he also wears a mask during court.”

She also says anyone who doesn’t have the appropriate technology can still take part in virtual court via Zoom, “say you don’t have a smartphone, you can call from any telephone, say an office phone, and it can connect with the zoom platform and you can just speak without having the visual.”

They would send you a phone number to dial, the clerk will connect you to the court computer and you’d wait until the judge gets to your case.

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