LOS ANGELES – The presiding judge of the Supreme Court pointed out that Los Angeles County's courthouses were not architecturally designed for "social disdain." Monday that some attempts face further delays.
Judge Kevin C. Brazile said in a statement that he has ordered civil jury trials to be postponed until January 2012, with the exception of civil trials without a jury, excluding minor claims and trials, which were postponed to November 16.
The order from Brazil will allow some criminal cases to continue through September and after October 5 in cases that can be heard by a judge without a jury and in full compliance with public health rules on social distancing and face covering protocols.
"The Los Angeles County Department of Health has raised concerns with the court about starting legal proceedings and taking jurors to district courts in light of the current COVID-19 numbers and trends, "Brazile said. "Courthouses are not intended to facilitate social distancing because of their fixed configuration."
Brazile also noted that remote courtroom solutions are being considered, which would allow some hearings to proceed, although defense in criminal cases must consent. Also, due to California law and ethics, there will be some cases where the remote option cannot be used.
Regarding remote negotiations in civil cases, Brazile noted: "The court cannot prescribe remote appearances in civil proceedings for logistical and evidential reasons."
Brazile also noted that all non-jury trials scheduled from Monday to September 8 – with the exception of minor claims and traffic attempts and all cases required by law – will continue until further notice.
Aside from interim injunction hearings, which can be concluded within two court days, evidence proceedings under family law can be held. Otherwise, such proceedings cannot begin until November 20, unless approved by the supervisory judge.
Most LA County's addiction hearings have been held since June 22nd
The order was issued on Monday conditions::
Pre-set appointments are required for personal services by the clerk, court support services and / or self-help centers. Appointments can be made on the same day for people who apply for an injunction, who have filled in their documents and arrive at the courthouse by 3:00 p.m. at the latest.
For telephone or video assistance or to make an appointment, the phone number for each courthouse is listed at the entrance to the courthouse and posted on the court's website (www.lacourt.org).
Access to the trials is limited to the judicial officer's chairman, court staff, parties, attorney, witnesses and members of the public (including news reporters / media representatives) who can be accommodated in the designated courtroom, while at least one mandatory social distancing enforced is six (6) feet.
The capacity of the courtroom is determined by the judge or commissioner presiding in the courtroom.
Political parties and attorneys are urged to avoid personal appearances and use technology to appear remotely whenever possible.
Justice officials are urged to avoid in-person hearings as much as possible and use technology to remotely conduct hearings and other legal proceedings for the duration of the state emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when the interests of the judiciary so require, judicial officers retain the discretion to require personal appearances.
For more information visit: (www.lacourt.org)