Court utilizes online video service and altered schedule
MURPHY (August 13, 2020) Efforts to contain and minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus have resulted in a variety of workarounds, altered schedules, and unusual methods of completing tasks throughout the City of Murphy, and the Murphy Municipal Court is no exception.
“We are adhering to the Executive Orders and other mandates sent out by the Governor’s office regarding the coronavirus,” says Court Administrator Patti Towne. “The health and safety of the public, including our staff, is critically important. Our priority is keeping everyone safe while still conducting our docket to the best of our ability.”
Because of the prohibitive restrictions in place regarding in-person hearings and court appearances, the Court’s judges and staff have relied on electronic communication to conduct business. Using the online meeting service widely available at www.zoom.com officials have changed the docket calendar to accommodate the clearing of backlog cases that were deferred due to the pandemic.
To plead a case, defendants are instructed to call 972-468-4250 or send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org and request to get on the schedule to interact with staff or one of the municipal judges. Zoom dockets will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment only.
Prior to calling or sending an email, defendants are required to fill out an Appearance Form, available at https://www.murphytx.org/105/Courts. Once the form has been filled out and electronically submitted to the court, the process for an online video appearance before a judge will begin.
“We are aware that this process may present challenges to some people because of the requirement for a computer,” said Towne. “However, because of the unusual nature of the circumstances we are in, the Zoom method has become our best option.”
Nevertheless, defendants who want to take care of their citations without a court date, may appear in person at the Municipal Court office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
Defendants also have other options for making payments for citations without appearing before a judge. Checks made out to the City of Murphy sealed in an envelope along with the citation may be dropped in the drive-through box on the south end of Murphy City Hall, 206 North Murphy Drive, or payments may be made online at: https://www.municipalonlinepayments.com/murphytx/court/search.
“Our goal is the disposition of cases quickly and accurately, but because of the pandemic, we are having to work under very unusual circumstances,” added Towne. “We ask for the public’s understanding and patience during this unusual time.”