Courtrooms across the country are inching closer and closer towards opening their doors as coronavirus restrictions begin to be lifted. Places like Southern California, whose courthouse maneuvers have been paused to slow the spread of the virus, are now looking to resuming their operations with new rules in place to promote the health and safety of all courthouse attendees. To observe stay-at-home orders, local courts have pressed pause on ongoing trials, extended deadlines for upcoming criminal trials, ceased progress on many civil cases and mainly focused instead on emergency and time-sensitive hearings. For said hearings, courts have had no choice but to rely on remote technology in order to carry out social distancing guidelines.
Correspondingly, courtrooms have had to adjust their current operations, including reducing the size of their jury pool, having less court visitors, and having video hearings. It very well seems the days of packed elevators and hallways filled with jurors, attorneys, law enforcement, witnesses, and victims will not be in our foreseeable future.
It is expected that some courts will open their doors faster than others, with Orange County Superior Court launching a “soft reopening” for this week, including resuming criminal trials previously paused by the earlier closure. Courthouses in the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County are believed to also restart operations by mid-June.
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