Consistent with the March 9, 2020 notice, the Judiciary is continuing take preventive measures to reduce risks of exposure to and transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus. In conjunction with those precautionary efforts, we are implementing the following immediate changes to our business operations and planning for potential further adjustments in the coming days and weeks.
1. We are making changes to jury management and operations.
- We are suspending all reporting for petit jury service. No civil or criminal jury trials will be conducted until further notice.
- We are continuing ongoing jury trials.
- We are continuing grand juries pending further communication with County Prosecutors and the Attorney General (for State Grand Jury).
- As previously announced, we are reminding jurors serving on ongoing trials not to report if they are sick or at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
2. We are adjusting court calendars to avoid large gatherings at courthouse proceedings.
- Vicinages should take immediate steps to stagger schedules for all court calendars to avoid situations that bring together large numbers of people in confined areas (including but not limited to landlord/tenant and small claims calendars, drug court, and children-in-court-waiting areas).
3. As previously announced, we are preparing to conduct motions, certain hearings, non-jury trials, and related matters remotely, with the use of video and telephonic equipment. If implemented, only judge and staff would be based in courts, with very limited exceptions.
- We are finalizing categories of events that can be handled by phone or video.
- Vicinages should take immediate steps to prepare for individualized trainings for judges (and staff, as necessary) on conducting court proceeding using video and phone, which individualized trainings will be completed by Monday, March 16.
- We are testing technological capacity and readiness at various levels and working to expand our system-wide supports.
- We are planning a large-scale test of remote operations with participation by all levels of the courts, which will occur the week of March 16.
- We are developing guidance and reminders related related to telephonic remote interpreting services should the need arise.
4. We are cancelling the following non-essential events:
- School/student visits to any court location, including all Vicinages and all areas of the Judiciary central office;
- Take your Child to Work Day;
- Law Day events; and
- Discretionary trainings that will not affect the ability to perform work functions.
5. We are deferring in-person meetings that are not time-sensitive and shifting meetings of Conferences, Committees, and Councils, (including meetings of Supreme Court Committees) from in-person to video meetings to the fullest extent possible:
- In addition, we are directing that all Presiding Judge and Division Manager Conferences (and all committees of those conferences) hold meeting by video-conferencing, to the extent possible.
6. We have suspended all Judiciary business-related out-of-state travel, even if previously approved.
- As we all are aware, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly changing. This notice provides information about our current actions, plans, and projections, with the understanding that the situation will continue to evolve. Further information will be provided on an ongoing basis.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner
Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.
Dated: March 12, 2020