The two Panola County Justice of the Peace courts will be suspending non-essential court proceedings, including evictions, through May 1, Pcts. 1 and 4 Justice of the Peace David Gray and Pcts. 2 and 3 Justice of the Peace Toni Hughes announced in an order Thursday.

The actions are based on recommendations and orders from the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Office of Court Administration, the Texas Justice Court Training Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of Health Services in light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The order is intended to protect the community, limit exposure and provide for an efficient judicial system, the JPs said.

All scheduled court proceedings that were set prior to May 1 — excepting essential court proceedings — will be reset to a date after May 1. Those people with a case that will be reset will be notified by the courts with their new time and date.

Staff will be working behind closed doors until further notice and will only open to the public on a case-by-case basis.

Civil cases may be filed at this time, but they will not be fully processed until after the order is lifted, the JPs said. This includes eviction suits.

“Any pending eviction suits will be postponed and reset after the Governor’s state of disaster has been lifted.”

Traffic citations issued during this timeframe will be extended, the JPs said, and given a May 1 or later appearance date. Appearance dates that fall within the order’s timeframe can contact the court for extensions, questions and concerns.

Payments can be made online at texasonlinerecords.com or paypanolajp.com or by calling 1-800-444-1187. Money orders can also be mailed. Make them payable to Panola County.

Those persons needing to conduct business with the JP courts are encouraged to phone, mail, email or fax.

Pcts. 1 and 4 JP David Gray’s office is available at (903) 693-0375, by fax at (903) 694-2674, by email at panolajp1@gmail.com or by mail at 110 S. Sycamore, Room 105, Carthage, Texas 75633.

Pcts. 2 and 3 JP Toni Hughes’s office is available at (903) 693-0377, by fax at (903) 693-4708, by email at panolacounty23@live.com or by mail at 110 S. Sycamore, Room 212, Carthage, Texas 75633.