Kentucky Supreme Court Blocks Attorney General’s Efforts in a Lower Court to Void Governor Beshear’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion in the Boone County Kentucky Circuit Court seeking to invalidate all executive orders issued to date by Governor Andy Beshear directed at containing the spread of COVID-19, a highly contagious disease that prompted the declaration of a national public health emergency as well as a state of emergency in Kentucky.  In his July 16th update on COVID-19, Governor Beshear said that Cameron’s actions would void:

  • Healthy at Work requirements;
  • expanded workers’ compensation eligibility for workers – including first responders, active military and grocery store employees – who are ordered to quarantine as a result of exposure; and
  • a measure that waives copays, deductibles, cost-sharing and diagnostic testing fees for private insurance.

Cameron’s motion also would have voided all COVID-19 orders and directives applicable to healthcare providers that had been issued from the Governor and the Secretary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. On Friday morning, July 17th, the Courier-Journal was reporting that the Boone County judge indicated late Thursday evening that he would side with Cameron.  However, by Friday afternoon, as reported by the Courier-Journal, “The Kentucky Supreme Court has temporarily halted a Boone County judge’s ruling blocking all of Gov. Andy Beshear’s past and future public health orders responding to the COVID-19 emergency.”

For Governor Beshear’s roadmap to safely reopen Kentucky, dubbed “Healthy at Work”, go to https://govstatus.egov.com/ky-healthy-at-work.  To keep up with developments in Kentucky and the efforts of Governor Beshear to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Kentucky, go to www.kycovid19.ky.gov.

The Supreme Court of Kentucky Issues Guidance Regarding Upcoming Trials

By Marianna J. Michael

Shortly after releasing its guidelines for reopening courts in the Commonwealth, the Supreme Court of Kentucky provided further guidance in regards to upcoming trials. The Order builds in time for courts to prioritize criminal proceedings that have been delayed as a result of COVID-19. As such, the Order makes the following provisions:

  • All jury trials currently scheduled to occur before August 1, 2020 are to be postponed and rescheduled no sooner than August 1, 2020 with in-custody criminal trials having priority over all other proceedings.
  • Grand jury proceedings may resume on June 1, 2020 and may be conducted remotely via available telephonic or video technology subject to the applicable Rules of Criminal Procedure.
  • Access to view the return of indictments pursuant to RCr 5.20 must be provided to members of the public and media through live audio or video or by digital recording.
  • Any case where the 60-day period in RCr 5.22(3) or an extension thereof was tolled by operation [of] Order 2020-28 shall be presented to the grand jury on or before July 30, 2020. The Commonwealth’s Attorney is encouraged to give priority to cases where the defendant is in custody and proceedings have been tolled by the Supreme Court’s response to the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Existing grand jury panels may be extended at the discretion of the court, subject to the 20-day limitation set out in AP Part II, Sec. 19(3).
  • Jurors who are ill, caring for someone who is ill, or in a high-risk category shall have their jury service postponed to a later date.
  • Jurors who are unable to wear a facial covering because doing so would pose a serious threat to their health or safety shall have their jury service postponed to a later date.
  • Jurors who were laid off, became unemployed, or otherwise suffered an economic loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and who show they would suffer further economic loss as a result of jury service, shall be excused for undue hardship.

The Order, which can be found here, will take effect on June 1, 2020 and shall remain in effect until further guidance is published. Return here for additional updates on the judiciary’s response to COVID-19.

 

In Its Latest Order, the Supreme Court of Kentucky Extends its Restrictions to May 31, 2020

April 15, 2020

On April 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued its latest Order extending deadlines in response to COVID-19. In what is its most dramatic extension to this point, the Court has limited its functions and those of the Court of Appeals until May 31, 2020. Up to this point, the Court had been extending its deadlines every two weeks. The most recent Order extends deadlines for more than six weeks. Click here to read more.

The Supreme Court of Kentucky’s Amended Order


March 31, 2020

The Supreme Court of Kentucky, which had previously extended filing deadlines for anything due to the Supreme Court of Kentucky or the Court of Appeals between March 16, 2020 to April 10, 2020, released an amended Order relating to COVID-19 concerns. The newest Order extends deadlines by two more weeks and sets new guidelines. Click here to read the article