Old court practices revived in Florida because of hurricane

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Michael has forced a Florida Panhandle county to revive old court practices, as inmates are making initial court appearances in person for the first time in years.

The Panama City News Herald reports that damage following the catastrophic hurricane that hit Oct. 10 left Bay County’s jail and courthouses unable to hold first appearances and bond hearings by video, which has become standard practice.

Judge Thomas Welch held some hearings in flip-flops and casual clothes instead of his usual black robes. Welch said he was taking into consideration that some inmates “could be at a disadvantage” because the hurricane prevented their families from attending the hearings.

Sheriff’s Office Maj. Rick Anglin said the jail has restored power and running water but its inmate phone system was still down.

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Information from: The (Panama City, Fla.) News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com

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