Both Los Angeles and Orange County courts will scale down operations significantly over the next few weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the entire nation and the world. In Los Angeles, Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile announced that starting March 16, the court will begin scaling down operations to achieve social distancing in all 38 courthouses.
Elaborate Steps Taken
Here are some of the measures implemented in the Los Angeles County Courts:
- No new jurors will be summoned for any civil or criminal jury trials for the next 30 days.
- The trial judge for any jury trial in session may exercise his or her discretion to either continue the trial or declare a mistrial.
- Self-help centers will be closed except for telephone assistance with restraining order preparation by calling 213-830-0845.
- Judges are encouraged to consider ways to achieve social distancing in their courtrooms by offering telephonic appearances and other strategies to reduce courtroom traffic.
In Orange County, the court took steps, which will significantly reduce the number of jurors summoned to serve in all types of trials. The court announced it will suspend all unlimited civil jury trials until May 1, 2020. The court will also reduce the number of jurors summoned in criminal trials and will stagger the times the jurors are supposed to appear in order to achieve social distancing.
In a statement, court officials said they are working with the District Attorney, Public Defender and other stakeholders to postpone cases within the confines of the law. All civil appearances before the court will be conducted via audio-video call-in software system or court call until May 1, 2020. Personal appearances in the court will be allowed only in hearings or trials where witnesses are expected to testify.
The court has said it is expanding sanitation efforts in public areas with additional personnel cleaning doors, elevators, stair rails and other surfaces that are frequently touched. If you are called for jury service and you are ill, you are highly likely to get a postponement of jury service. Visit occourts.org/ejuror or call 657-622-7000 to postpone your jury service.
Our personal injury attorneys have never seen action of this magnitude in the many years we have served as practicing trial lawyers in Orange County and Los Angeles. We understand how this might cause inconveniences to many. We believe though, that these are essential actions if we are to defeat this pandemic and get our lives back to normal. Please be safe out there.