Although the courts remain open, our goal is to dramatically reduce the number of people reporting to the courthouses each day.

Persons who do not have business in the court facilities are requested to refrain from coming into the building.

If you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, believe you may have been in contact with someone who has been exposed or feel ill, please do not come to the judicial centers.

If you have a scheduled court date and are feeling ill, contact your attorney and the court to explain your illness. We are taking all necessary precautions to avoid spreading illness during this health crisis.

All jurors summoned to appear for jury service the week of March 16 are excused. Prosecutors, public defenders, Office of Regional Counsel, private attorneys and defendants must still appear in court as scheduled.

We have suspended grand jury proceedings, jury selection proceedings and criminal and civil jury trials through Friday, March 27. The courts are open and all other court hearings scheduled during this time will proceed.

Effective through March 27, the following changes are implemented in each division:

County Court

All proceedings in which a defendant is in custody will be done via video, including arraignments, docket soundings, violations of probation and case management hearings.

All out-of-custody misdemeanor arraignment dates during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out.

All out-of-custody criminal traffic arraignment dates during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out.

All out-of-custody docket soundings, pretrial conferences, case management and violation of probation hearings set during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out.

All small claims pretrial hearings set during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out.

All civil traffic hearings scheduled in front of the Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out.

All contested traffic hearing dates during this time will be rescheduled to a date at least 30 days out.

All jury trials are suspended.

Attorneys and litigants shall utilize telephonic conferencing where practical, provided that a party creates the conference call and circulates the call-in information to all parties and the court. No court order is required.

Circuit Criminal (Felony) Court

All proceedings in which a defendant is in custody will be done via video, including bond reduction hearings, arraignments, violations of probation and case management hearings.

All out-of-custody hearings will be rescheduled to a later date.

All jury trials are suspended.

First appearances

First appearances will be every day at the normal time by video.

Pretrial services will provide scaled-back services during this time, including eliminating direct contact with inmates; however, at a minimum they will provide the court criminal histories and PCAs.

Family, Civil and Probate/Guardianship Divisions, including all magistrate hearings

All Title IV-D child support hearings will be rescheduled. The hearing officer will be available for telephonic or video jail hearings as needed.

All Baker Act and Marchman Act Hearings will be conducted telephonically by the General Magistrate.

Attorneys and litigants shall utilize telephonic conferencing where practical, provided that a party creates the conference call and circulates the call-in information to all parties and the court. No court order is required.

For evidentiary hearings, the parties are directed immediately to meet and confer by telephone to discuss whether the evidentiary hearing may be conducted telephonically or by video conference; requires an in-person appearance; should be postponed until the conclusion of the COVID-19 outbreak; or some other action. After the parties meet and confer, they shall immediately submit their recommendation via email to the assigned judge’s judicial assistant for the court to review and take action.

Juvenile Court

Detentions hearing may occur via video or telephonic hearing. MRJDC has indicated that parents may attend telephonic hearings (including 21-day reviews) at the MRJDC conference room.

Shelter hearings may occur via video or telephonic conference call where practicable.

Attorneys and litigants shall utilize telephonic conferencing where practical, provided that a party creates the conference call and circulates the call-in information to all parties and the Court. No Court Order is required.

Treatment courts and specialty courts

Treatment court days are cancelled until after March 27.

All group therapy sessions are cancelled.

All urinalysis drops are cancelled.

Treatment court supervisors shall develop procedures for counselors and case managers to have telephonic or video contact with clients, including documentation of this contact.

Mediations

Unless mediations can occur telephonically or via video, all in-person mediations are cancelled and will be rescheduled.

In light of recent health advisories to limit exposure to public places we are temporarily suspending our pet therapy and school visits to the judicial centers.

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