Ottawa Municipal Court Judge James Campbell is resuming municipal court operations beginning Wednesday.
The court is in the process of contacting defendants with a pending court hearing to reschedule court dates as needed. Court staff encourages anyone who owes fines or fees to pay online and clear their case without appearing in person.
The court is slowly starting operations and will continue to work with defendants to safely and efficiently manage court cases, officials said.
“The municipal court staff is using guidance from the Kansas Supreme Court to re-open municipal court,” Police Chief Adam Weingartner. “The safety of the public and our employees will guide how and when normal court operations will resume.”
Guidelines to help answer frequently asked questions:
• Call the Municipal Court at 785-242-5333 or email the court at email@example.com with questions. Court staff will reply.
• Pay online at www.ottawaks.gov/court-payment-policy.
• Do not come in person for a court appearance unless you received notification from court staff. This will help limit the number of people inside the Law Enforcement Center.
• Bring a face mask. Anyone who enters the court for a hearing will need a face mask. Disposable masks will be available for those who do not have one.
• Leave everything in your car-no purses, bags, drinks, etc. will be allowed into the Law Enforcement Center during court appearances. You can bring in your phone.
On court days for the month of June, defendants will meet staff on the sidewalk at the court parking lot. Defendants not on the court docket will be sent away until their scheduled court appearance time.
Everyone will complete a COVID-19 questionnaire, similar to those at medical offices or hospitals, before being allowed to enter the Law Enforcement Center.
Stand at least 6 feet apart on sidewalk. Use the cement cracks as your guide.
Defendants will wait in their car in the parking lot until called into court, or on the sidewalk nearby. No one will be allowed to wait in the police or court lobby.
Defendants will meet a bailiff inside the court lobby and be directed to a testimony room. The court appearance will be completed using Zoom with the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney (if appointed or hired), and court clerks.
Any paperwork will be emailed to the defendant after the court hearing.
Defendants will exit the Law Enforcement Center using the hallway behind the court room and exit into the same parking lot they entered.
“Please be patient with court staff during this gradual opening,” Ottawa Municipal Court Judge James Campbell. “Court staff will do their best to keep court appearances timely and on schedule. Doing your part to clear any case by phone or email ahead of a court appearances is the best way defendants can help.”
No warrants will be issued during the month of June for defendants who missed payments or appearances.