Frank Murphy, 36th District courts get 'deep cleaning' after virus exposures

Detroit — The Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, home to the Wayne County Circuit Court, will adjourn most cases Monday and Tuesday as the building undergoes a "deep cleaning" prompted by the building's recent exposure to a Detroit-area defense attorney who has tested positive for the coronavirus, the court announced Monday.

Emergency matters that cannot be delayed until Wednesday will be heard by the circuit court's chief judge, Timothy Kenny, who works out of a courtroom at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

The exposure was reported to Kenny by Lillian Diallo, vice president of the Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar Association. The attorney in question was at the courthouse throughout the week of March 9, a statement from the court says.

The court says it hired an "outside vendor" to handle the deep cleaning effort, which will start Monday. 

The court is expected to resume operations on Wednesday, and when it does "attorneys, defendants and witnesses will be able to appear remotely for proceedings using Zoom technology," the statement says.

Like most courthouses throughout metro Detroit and across the state, Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, adjourned civil cases and many criminal not-in-custody felony cases in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The chief judge of the 36th District Court in Detroit also announced Monday that the Madison Street courthouse is being disinfected after the court recently became aware that an attorney who had visited the courthouse March 16 has tested positive for the virus. It was discovered over the weekend that the attorney had recently visited the 36th District Court.

"Part of our preparedness plan for the coronavirus has been to schedule additional, regular deep cleanings of our building. Upon learning that an attorney that had been present on a case this past week had tested positive for COVID-19, I have confirmed that our facility received a thorough disinfection this weekend and will reopen for limited matters as scheduled Monday," 36th District Chief Judge William McConico  said in a press release.

The chief judge said those who worked in or visited the court March 16 should contact their medical providers and follow the protocols of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding exposure to COVID-19.

Also on Monday, the Wayne County Friend of the Court announced its call center is not accepting calls due to a emergency declaration by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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