Thursday, April 16, 2020
All Courtrooms Will Be Closed Except Those Handling ‘Time-Sensitive, Essential Functions’—Brazile
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Justice Kevin Brazile has formally extended the moratorium on criminal and civil trials—put in place on March 17 and set to expire today—until May 12, with a hold also put on most other proceedings.
However, he expressed doubt on Friday in a webinar that trials will take place before June 22, and said that when that does occur, criminal cases will receive a priority. Doubt looms among judges whether civil jury trials will resume this calendar year, it has been learned.
Brazile’s latest general order—his fourth since the COVID-19 epidemic created a crisis for the courts—was disseminated to judges by email on Tuesday at 5:53 p.m. and was distributed by the Los Angeles County Bar Association to its members yesterday morning.
The presiding judge declared that “all courtrooms will remain closed for judicial business” through May 12 except for conducting “time-sensitive, essential functions.”
Matters Still Heard
He enumerated those functions as follows:
Civil temporary restraining orders, family temporary restraining orders, civil ex parte proceedings, family ex parte proceedings, Hague Convention (international kidnapping), probate ex parte hearings, probate emergency petitions for temporary conservatorship, probate emergency petitions for temporary guardianship, Riese hearings, search warrants, arraignments, criminal preliminary hearings, criminal ex parte hearings, bail bond and cash bail processings, bail review, criminal mental competency hearings, criminal sentencing proceedings, criminal post-sentencing proceedings, and grand jury indictments.
Also exempted were juvenile ex parte orders, emergency orders relating to the health and safety of a child, juvenile restraining orders, juvenile delinquency detention hearings and related case processing, juvenile dependency detention hearings and related case processing, petitions for writ seeking emergency relief in misdemeanor, limited civil and infractions, emergency writs challenging COVID-19 emergency measures, writs of habeas corpus challenging medical quarantines, emergency protective orders, proceedings under the Lanterman-Petris-Short (‘LPS’) Act, and judicial commitments for dangerous persons based on mental health conditions.
Included in the list were parole and post-release community supervision revocation hearings, juvenile delinquency adjudications and dispositions, and related case processing, juvenile petitions pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 388e (per Emergency Rule No. 6), expedited petitions to approve compromise of disputed claim or pending action, or disposition of proceeds of judgment for minor or person with a disability pursuant to California Rule of Court 7.950.5, if no hearing is required, writ proceedings under Welfare and Institutions Code sections 4800-4801 seeking release by persons judicially committed to a stale hospital, development center, or other facility.
All other matters, the presiding judge advised, would be continued, with parties being notified when to appear.
Brazile said in a footnote:
“From April 17, 2020 until May 12, 2020, all parties may appear telephonically in Civil ex parte matters. Opposition papers for any electronically-filed ex parte application must be electronically filed by 8:00 p.m. the day before the hearing on the ex parte application, unless the party opposing the ex parte application is a self-represented litigant or otherwise exempt from mandatory electronic filing pursuant to the operative General Order re Mandatory Electronic filing in Civil.”
The presiding judge acted pursuant to authority granted to him on Monday by Tani Cantil-Sakauye, as chief justice and chair of the Judicial Council. She, in turn, acted in accordance with Government Code §68115(a).
That section provides, in part, that in light of an “epidemic” or “a condition that leads to a state of emergency being proclaimed by the President of the United States or by the Governor” and which renders courtrooms unsafe, the chairperson of the Judicial Council, at the request of a presiding judge, authorize certain actions. These include extending time periods and declaring judicial holidays.
An emergency has been declared by President Donald Trump and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Brazile also ordered:
The court extends the time periods provided in section 313 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending dependency proceedings must be released from custody to not more than seven (7) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, inclusive.
The court extends the time periods provided in section 315 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending dependency proceedings must be given a detention hearing to not more than seven (7) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, inclusive.
The court extends the time periods provided in sections 632 and 637 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending wardship proceedings and charged with a felony offense must be given a detention hearing or rehearing to not more than seven (7) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire from April 17, 2020 to May 12,2020, inclusive.
The court extends the time period provided in section 334 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a hearing on a juvenile dependency petition must be held by not more than fifteen (15) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, inclusive.
The Court extends the time period provided in section 657 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a hearing on a wardship petition for a minor charged with a felony offense must be held by not more than fifteen (15) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline otherwise would expire from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, inclusive.
Further, the court declares that from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, inclusive, be deemed a holiday/holidays for purposes of computing the time under Code of Civil Procedure section 116.330(a) (requires a small claims matter to be scheduled for hearing no earlier than 20 days but not more than 70 days from the date of the order directing the parties to appear at the hearing).
All civil jury or non-jury trials, other than in unlawful detainer cases, set for trial from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, will be continued until a date after June 22, 2020. The parties shall be notified of the continued trial date by the Court. All pre-trial dates for trials that are continued pursuant to this paragraph are also continued consistent with the new trial date.
In unlawful detainer cases, Emergency Rule 1(d) establishes that if the defendant has appeared in the action, the court may not set a trial date earlier than 60 days after a request for trial is made, unless the court finds that an earlier trial date is necessary to protect public health and safety. Under that same rule, any trial set in an unlawful detainer proceeding as of April 6, 2020 must be continued at least 60 days from the initial date of trial.
All traffic and infraction trials set for trial from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, inclusive, are continued. The parties shall receive notice of the date on which the continued trial shall be set.
In all criminal cases, the court imposes a 90-day continuance of all status reports and progress reports, applicable only to defendants for whom a status report or progress report was due from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, inclusive. The court shall provide notice of when the new proceeding will be held.
The continuance of any and all misdemeanor post-arraignment proceedings, in which the defendant is out of custody, applicable only to defendants for whom misdemeanor proceedings would otherwise be set from April 17, 2020 to May 12, 2020, inclusive.
Access to all Los Angeles County courthouses remains restricted at all times to judges, commissioners, court staff, co-lessees, Judicial Council staff and vendors, and authorized persons, which includes but is not limited to news reporters and news media representatives.
Access to all essential court proceedings, including, but not limited to, arraignments, preliminary hearings, restraining orders or ex parte matters, remains limited to parties, attorneys, witnesses or authorized persons, which includes, but is not limited to news reporters and news media representatives.
The Executive Officer/Clerk of Court may provide telephonic and electronic assistance in these essential court proceedings to the greatest extent possible.
In furtherance of Executive Order N-33-20, paragraph 4, subpart (b), the Court orders all parties who use e-filing to accept electronic service, except in those circumstances when personal service is required by law or where any of the parties are self-represented.
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