"We would expect people to make it to their court dates given normal circumstances," Clay Superior Court Judge Blaine Akers told The Brazil Times. "Now if the weather creates extraordinary situations, we would make accommodations if need be."
Akers added each situation is considered separately and some situations are treated with more compassion than others.
"If the roads are icy like they have been the past couple of days and someone is trying to get to the courthouse from Coalmont, we'll be a little more lenient than if someone lives a few blocks away during a moderate snow," he said. "People can make preparations to get here, but we don't want to put them in danger either."
Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger elaborated on Akers' thoughts.
"If an individual takes reasonable action to inform us they can't make it because of the weather or problems with their vehicle, we may be agreeable to having a continuance," he said. "But if we don't get a call or explanation before their scheduled court date, we can't make arrangements."
In recent years, the Clay County Courthouse has been closed due to inclement weather only once, and Akers told The Brazil Times he has even made special arrangements to ensure people make it to the courthouse.
"For jury trials, there have been times I've asked law enforcement officers to pick up people who couldn't make it themselves," Akers said, emphasizing those with court dates should try their best to arrive on time. "In my time as judge, I've probably heard every excuse in the book for not making a court date. However, there are times I will file a continuance for those who legitimately cannot be here for their scheduled court date."
However, Reberger told The Brazil Times there are consequences for making an attempt to inform the courts of the reasons for not being able to appear as scheduled.
"Those who don't contact the courts are subject to a failure to appear warrant," Reberger said. "This means the individual may be arrested and have to sit in jail to wait for their court date. It may not necessarily add on to the potential length of incarceration, but it opens the door for the possibility of revoking or setting more restrictive terms to the bond amount."