TULSA, Okla. — It may be quiet around the Tulsa County Courthouse, but the work hasn’t stopped.
Many of the typical daily activities such as filing charges and court appearances now happen electronically. Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said there’s a lot of coordination between his office, public defenders, the jail and the courts. He’s stopped issuing warrants for anyone violating probation unless it’s a public safety matter. He said they’re still meeting for bond hearings daily and are pleaing those out that they can.
“There’s going to be a group of folks that we’ve agreed upon where we can enter into some type of disposition if it’s a straight probation case or maybe they’ve served an appropriate amount of time, we can plea them out," Kunzweiler said.
One of Kunzweiler’s biggest concerns is cases that are set for jury trial. As more and more of those cases get continued, he's worried about keeping in touch with those involved in them.
“We’ve got family members if it’s a homicide case we need to maintain contact with so that’s having staff to handle those discussions," he said.
Those continued trials will start to pile up as new cases come in during the pandemic. Kunzweiler said he’s noticed a pattern in recent weeks.
“What I’ve been seeing is a lot of what I would say you could associate with the pandemic," he said. "Some violent behaviors, some associated with domestic violence situations.”
Kunzweiler said they’re working with local partners to get abuse victims help. He’s especially worried about children who rely on being able to get away from home.
“Away from friends or teachers who might be able to see things that should be reported," he said. "Now they may be in environments where they are perhaps unfortunately being abused or taken advantage of and they don’t have an escape for that.”
And his biggest concern overall, the unknown.
“What’s going on out there that we don’t know about just because we’ve got some victims who might be in perilous circumstances that can’t do anything about it," he said.
The courthouse is open to essential court personnel for things like criminal cases and anyone in an emergency situation. If you need to file a protective order, a law enforcement officer can fill out the form and get it authorized for you without you having to go to the courthouse.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.