Nation’s Largest Trial Court to Launch ‘Here For You | Safe For You’ Plan to Open Virtual and Physical Courthouse Doors Starting June 15 with the Clerk’s Office
Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile announced today he has extended his April 14 Order pursuant to the emergency powers granted to him by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye under Government Code 68115. Under today’s Order, all courtrooms will remain closed for judicial business through June 10 — except time-sensitive, essential functions. To prepare for the resumption of court hearings beginning June 22, the Clerk’s Office will reopen on June 15.
“This extension is necessary to continue social distancing in our courthouses as we balance public health and safety and prepare to reopen the virtual and physical doors of the nation’s largest trial court with a broad array of safeguards and services under the Court’s new ‘Here For You | Safe For You’ plan,” Presiding Judge Brazile said. “Whether you are an attorney or party appearing from a remote location or seeking assisting from a courthouse, the Court will fulfill its access to justice mandate while prioritizing safe, accessible and efficient service delivery for the public, judicial officers and employees.”
Under the Order, these matters scheduled between May 13-June 10, 2020, will be continued or reset:
• Criminal jury trials and non-jury trials;
• Civil jury and non-jury trials;
• Processing of all Unlawful Detainer cases;
• Family Law trials and evidentiary hearings, excluding Restraining Order and international kidnapping proceedings;
• Traffic and Non-Traffic Infraction trials; and
• Dependency and Delinquency arraignment/detention hearings.
In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, Presiding Judge Brazile exercised his authority to scale down operations on March 17 under the powers conveyed to him by the Chief Justice on March 16, 2020. The initial Order led to the closure of 400 out of 580 courtrooms throughout the Court’s 38 courthouses. Those courtrooms will remain closed through June 10, with hearings resuming on June 22.
Access to all Los Angeles County courthouses remains restricted 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.
To prepare for the June 22 reopening of the closed 400 courtrooms and resumption of hearings and court operations, the Clerk’s Office — which has been closed since March 23 — will reopen on June 15. Court employees are preparing calendars and implementing new ways to virtually deliver services. Information regarding the new Virtual Clerk’s Office and Court Service Departments including virtual Jury Service, telephonic and video Webex assistance, and how to reserve a seat in the courthouse for in-person assistance, will be coming soon.
In addition to the new virtual services coming soon, under the new Here For You | Safe For You plan, the Court:
• Requires the use of face coverings by all judicial officers, employees and all Court visitors, with limited permissible exceptions;
• Manages social distancing with signs, floor, wall and seating markings inside and outside courthouses;
• Works with Sheriff’s Deputies to help manage social distancing requirements;
• Offers hand sanitizer and wipes at entrances, inside courtrooms and other high traffic areas; and
• Provides enhanced disinfection and cleaning of courthouse facilities, including disinfectant cleaning of many areas twice daily in areas such as courtrooms, Clerk’s Office, and all high- traffic areas, such as hand rails, door handles and knobs, elevator areas and buttons, and escalators.
Public restrooms also are disinfected twice daily, and sometimes more frequently, if needed.
The Here For You | Safe For You plan focuses on providing a safe courthouse environment while offering services that allow court business to be conducted remotely. Whether appearing by phone, from home, the office or coming to the courthouse, the Here For You | Safe For You plan provides safe, efficient options to access justice. The Court’s remote technology options promote social distancing by reducing the number of people appearing in person. Updates on COVID-19 impacts to court operations are available on the Court’s website (www.lacourt.org) and Twitter page (@LASuperiorCourt).
Source: La Superior Court News Release