Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Text of Orders
By a MetNews Staff Writer
California Chief Justice
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye late Monday suspended all jury trials in the state for 60 days and barred the commencement of civil or criminal trials for that period, with the proviso that superior courts may conduct trials earlier upon finding of good cause shown or through use of remote technology. She issued the following statement and order:
The World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the State of California have recognized that the world, country, and state face a life-threatening pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus. As of March 23,2020, the CDC reported that there are more than 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, and more than 500 deaths. In California, the Department of Public Health reports more than 1,700 confirmed cases and more than 30 deaths. Health officials expect these figures to rise dramatically unless the population adheres to shelter- in-place guidelines and appropriate social distancing. As of this date, there is no known cure or vaccination.
In response to the spread of COVID-19- Governor Newsom on March 4, 2020, declared a state of emergency in California, which was followed on March 13, 2020, by President Trump declaring a national emergency. Beginning on March 16, 2020, California counties began issuing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, requiring all Californians to stay home, subject to certain limited exemptions. Courts are included in this exemption. Schools have been closed statewide.
The CDC, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health departments have recommended increasingly stringent social distancing measures of at least six feet between people, and encouraged vulnerable individuals to avoid public spaces.
Courts cannot comply with these health restrictions and continue to operate as they have in the past. Court proceedings require gatherings of court staff, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, and juries, well in excess of the numbers allowed for gathering under current executive and health orders. Many court facilities in California are ill-equipped to effectively allow the social distancing and other public health requirements required to protect people involved in court proceedings and prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Even if court facilities could allow for sufficient social distancing, the closure of schools means that many court employees, litigants, witnesses, and potential jurors cannot leave their homes to attend court proceedings because they must stay home to supervise their children. These restrictions have also made it nearly impossible for courts to assemble juries.
Pursuant to my authority under the California Constitution, article VI, section 6 and Government Code section 68115, and after careful consideration, balancing the constitutional due process rights of parties m both criminal and civil proceedings with the health and safety of these parties, the public, court staff, judicial officers, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, and others present at these proceedings, among other considerations. I find good cause to order that:
1. All jury trials are suspended and continued for a period of sixty (60) days from the date of this order. Courts may conduct such a trial at an earlier date, upon a finding of good cause shown or through the use of remote technology, when appropriate.
2. The time period provided in Penal Code section 1382 for the holding of a criminal trial is extended for a period of sixty (60) days from the date of this order. Courts may conduct such a trial at an earlier date, upon a finding of good cause shown or through the use of remote technology, when appropriate.
3. The time period provided in Code of Civil Procedure sections 583.310 and 583.320 for the holding of a civil trial is extended for a period of sixty (60) days from the date of this order. Courts may conduct such a trial at an earlier date, upon a finding of good cause shown or through the use of remote technology, when appropriate.
4. All superior courts are authorized under rule 10.613(i) of the California Rules of Court to adopt any proposed rules or rule amendment that is intended to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to take effect immediately, without advance circulation for 45 days of public comment. A court adopting any such rule change must provide a copy to Judicial Council staff and post notice of the change prominently on the court’s website, along with the effective date of the new or amended rule. Additionally, the court must immediately distribute the new or amended rule as set forth in rule 10.613(g)(2). No litigant’s substantive rights shall be prejudiced for failing to comply with the requirements of a new or amended rule until at least 20 days after the rule change has been distributed.
Courts are urged to timely communicate with attorneys and self-represented litigants regarding the status of pending proceedings.
I reserve the authority to rescind or modify this order, as appropriate, to address changing circumstances. This order may be deemed part of the record in affected cases for purposes of appeal without the need to file the order in each case.
Brazile Restricts Access to Los Angeles Superior Court Courtrooms
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile late Monday issued the following order limiting access to Los Angeles Superior Court courtrooms to “Judges, Commissioners, court staff and authorized persons.” Here is the order:
WHEREAS, Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States has declared a national emergency in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, also known as COVTD-19; and
WHEREAS, Gavin Newsom, the Governor of the State of California has declared a state of emergency in response to the outbreak of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that, for at least eight (8) weeks, all gatherings throughout the United States should be limited to no more than 10 people; and
WHEREAS, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has recommended that large gatherings should be avoided, that persons over 65 years of age, and other vulnerable populations should avoid person-to-person contact and maintain a social distance of at least six (6) feet, and that employers allow their employees to telework to the extent reasonable and practical; and
WHEREAS, as of March 23, 2020, 536 people within the County of Los Angeles have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, and seven (7) people within the County of Los Angeles have died from COVID-19, and the number of those infected continues to rise, thus causing an emergency pandemic; and
WHEREAS, on March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, both issued, respectively, stay at home and safer at home orders; and
WHEREAS, the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles has obtained emergency powers pursuant to the provisions of California Government Code section 68115, and has issued general orders to implement the emergency powers the Chief Justice of the State of California delegated to the Court.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY THIS COURT HEREBY ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:
1. Access to any and all Los Angeles County Courthouses shall be restricted at all times to judges, commissioners. court staff and authorized persons until further notice; and
2. Access to any and all court proceedings, including but not limited to arraignments, preliminary hearings, motions, ex partes or trials, shall be limited to parties, attorneys, witnesses or authorized persons until further notice; and
3. The full and complete temporary public closure of the Sylmar Juvenile Courthouse for three (3) days; and
4. The full and complete public closure of the Beverly Hills, Catalina and Spring Street Courthouses, until further notice; and
5. The Executive Officer Clerk of Court may provide telephonic and electronic assistance to assist in those essential services as outlined in the March 17, 2020 and March 19, 2020 Administrative Order of the Presiding Judge re COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as any subsequent Orders, to the largest extent possible only; and
6. The suspension of any and all criminal or civil jury or non-jury trials per the March 19, 2020 Administrative Order of the Presiding Judge re COVID-19 Pandemic, including unlawful detainer trials, until further notice; and
7. In all criminal cases, a 90-day continuance of any and all status reports and progress reports; and
8. The continuance of any and all criminal misdemeanor cases, with out-of-custody defendants, for 90 days, unless otherwise statutorily required: and
9. Bail review hearings under Penal Code section 1275 for any and all misdemeanor or felony pretrial detainees will be deemed a priority matter on the court’s calendar for the next 60 days; and
10. Social distancing of at least six (6) feet shall be enforced in all courthouse and courtrooms to the extent possible.
THIS ORDER IS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL JUNE 22, 2020 AND MAY BE AMENDED AS CIRCUMSTANCES REQUIRE.
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