Court Operations During COVID-19: 50-State Resources
State court systems across the country significantly altered their operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Many courts initially limited proceedings to only the most essential and urgent matters, such as arraignments and restraining order hearings. While most jurisdictions are beginning to resume many of their normal operations, courts often are still striving to conduct as many proceedings remotely as possible. Jury trials are suspended or limited in some locations, although most states at least have planned strategies for resuming them.
Click on the states below to learn more about how each state court system is currently responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Court Operating Status: In-person civil proceedings can resume, but individual judges have discretion related to public health precautions. Workers’ compensation settlement hearings may be conducted remotely through July 29, 2021.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials have been allowed to proceed since the fall of 2020.
Court Operating Status: Non-jury court proceedings may continue, subject to the discretion of individual judges, but they must be conducted by teleconference or videoconference whenever possible. A procedural rule involving certified mail service has been relaxed to allow a postal service employee to sign a return receipt, rather than the recipient. Clerk’s offices will accept pleadings, motions, and other papers filed by email or fax in most case types, and filing fees may be paid online.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: In-person grand jury proceedings were allowed to resume on February 8, 2021, although presiding judges may suspend them for public health reasons or to comply with local health mandates. Grand jury proceedings may be conducted by video conference when in-person proceedings are limited or suspended. On April 19, misdemeanor jury trials were allowed to resume, although they may be limited or suspended for public health reasons or to comply with local health mandates. Class B and C felony jury trials were allowed to resume on June 1, subject to the same caveats. Class A and unclassified felony jury trials are suspended until at least July 6. In-person civil jury trials are suspended until at least September 7. Speedy trial deadlines are tolled through July 31, and thereafter as needed to permit an orderly transition and scheduling.
A presiding judge may allow a jury trial or a class of jury trials during a period of general suspension when consistent with public health. A party may request a jury trial in this situation by making a motion to the trial court. The Alaska Supreme Court has provided a list of factors to consider when deciding whether to grant a request for a jury trial.
Court Operating Status: The Arizona Supreme Court has provided a four-phase reopening plan, although Phase II is divided into two phases. Different courts are in different phases of the plan. In general, courts can transition to in-person operations if this can be accomplished safely in light of coronavirus concerns. Remote proceedings will continue to be utilized to the extent necessary. Presiding superior court judges have the authority to determine how in-person court proceedings and courthouse activities will be conducted in their respective counties. The public has access to criminal and civil court proceedings by video or phone. Arraignments in misdemeanor cases for defendants not in custody may be conducted through an online dispute resolution system. Attorneys, litigants, and the public should check with local courts for local practices and advisories. For example, courthouse mask rules may vary by county.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials were allowed to resume on June 15, 2020, subject to judicial discretion related to health and safety. Presiding superior court judges can decide when jury and grand jury proceedings can resume, and technology can be used for juror selection as well as grand jury proceedings and jury trials. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, until December 31, 2021, a court may re-summon a juror who was previously summoned and has met their term of jury service. The Mohave County Superior Court has been authorized to explore a remote civil jury trial pilot project.
Court Operating Status: Courts in all divisions resumed hearings on May 18, 2020, subject to social distancing rules. The Arkansas Department of Health has stated that courts generally must follow the rules that cover large indoor venues. The Arkansas Supreme Court has provided guidelines for in-person proceedings and protocols following exposure to COVID-19 in the courtroom. All court proceedings, criminal and civil, including appearances, hearings, and arraignments, may take place either by video conference or in-person, as determined by the presiding judge. Deadlines for service of process have been reinstated. Service of process for pending cases must be made on a defendant by May 31, 2021, by the deadline provided by rule, or by the deadline provided by a court order, whichever is latest. Rules for service of process by mail have been adjusted to account for changes to U.S. Postal Service return receipt procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials were allowed to resume on May 1, 2021. Any trial delay due to COVID-19 precautions will not be included in speedy trial calculations. Criminal trials must be conducted in person, but civil trials may be conducted remotely or partly remotely.
Court Operating Status: Subject to judicial discretion, local courts may use videoconferencing or telephonic hearings to conduct civil matters and criminal cases (with consent from criminal defendants) to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Courts may suspend any rule in the California Rules of Court that prevents them from using remote technology for such proceedings. Criminal defendants may appear through counsel or remote technology in all pre-trial hearings. Civil statutes of limitations that are longer than 180 days were tolled between April 6 and October 1, 2020. For civil cases filed on or before April 6, 2020, six months were added to the time limit for bringing an action to trial (or to a new trial). Superior courts are authorized to adopt any proposed rules to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which can take effect immediately.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: There is no statewide suspension of jury trials. Individual courts are making independent decisions about whether jury trials are appropriate.
Court Operating Status: Local courts are to continue operating on an emergency basis until further notice, and they should utilize remote proceedings to the greatest extent possible due to COVID-19 concerns. Subject to judicial discretion, higher priority should be given to urgent matters, such as those involving restraining orders and bail setting.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: No person shall be summoned for jury service in a Colorado court without the authorization of the Chief Judge of that judicial district, who must determine whether the jury pool can be assembled while complying with applicable executive orders and health directives.
Court Operating Status: Connecticut courts are authorized to handle most matters in person. Meanwhile, courts also have expanded their technological capabilities so that many types of pre-trial proceedings and non-jury trials may be conducted remotely.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: The jury trial process resumed on June 1, 2021, while complying with directives from the Governor and consulting with public health officials.
Court Operating Status: The Delaware court system moved to Phase 3 of its reopening plan on June 1, 2021. All courts are authorized, to the greatest extent possible, to use audiovisual devices and conduct proceedings other than jury trials remotely. Deadlines related to the speedy trial guidelines are tolled.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials were allowed to resume on June 1, 2021, although the judicial state of emergency was extended to July 2.
Court Operating Status: The Civil Division will conduct hearings, trials, and evidentiary hearings remotely in any civil case in which it is appropriate. (See below for information on jury trials.) About half of Criminal Division courtrooms are operating entirely remotely. In general, Criminal Division judges are handling arraignments, pleas, sentencings, non-jury trials, dispositive motion hearings, bond review, and show cause hearings. Citation arraignments and misdemeanor cases for non-detained defendants are proceeding remotely. The Domestic Violence Division is operating remotely unless a judge specifically orders a hearing to be held in person. Most Family Court cases are being handled remotely, except for certain hearings in delinquency cases. Probate Court cases also are generally being handled remotely, except for certain cases involving the appointment of a guardian or conservator. All Tax Division cases are being handled remotely, including trials.
Certain statutes of limitations and other deadlines and time limits that otherwise would have expired before June 19, 2020 are suspended, tolled, and extended until at least July 15, 2021. At least 60 days’ notice will be provided before suspension, tolling, and extension ends. Non-priority matters scheduled through July 15, 2021 will be rescheduled unless the most recent order specifically provides otherwise.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: The first phase of in-person jury trials in criminal cases began in April 2021. The Civil Division was authorized to resume jury trials in May 2021. Notice of in-person trials (jury and non-jury) in the Civil Division must be provided either at a hearing with all parties present or through written notice 30 days before a non-jury trial and 60 days before a jury trial.
Court Operating Status: Courts must progress through a four-phase reopening plan, meeting certain benchmark criteria and developing operational plans to address how they will implement the requirements for each phase. Chief judges must take all necessary steps to support remote proceedings with the use of technology, and parties that can participate by electronic means in remote proceedings must do so. Presiding judges in civil cases must classify cases as complex, streamlined, or general, and develop case management procedures accordingly. Health screenings and masks are no longer required at courthouses, but masks and social distancing are still required for in-person proceedings. Check the individual website of your local circuit court regarding its operational status.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: In-person jury trials have been temporarily suspended in some circuit courts, while other circuit courts are temporarily limiting the number of trials that may proceed. Non-trial jury proceedings and non-jury trials also may be temporarily suspended in some circuit courts. Civil jury trials may be conducted remotely with the consent of all parties, and criminal jury trials may be conducted remotely with the defendant’s consent if certain other requirements are met.
Court Operating Status: Courts should use remote technology when it is legal, practicable, and safer than in-person proceedings. However, courts have general discretion to conduct in-person proceedings under court operating guidelines when it is safe and lawful. Most deadlines imposed on litigants have been reimposed, but deadlines imposed on courts remain suspended and tolled.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials may resume in accordance with a final jury trial plan developed in collaboration with a local committee of judicial system participants and incorporated into the court’s operating guidelines. Judges have discretion to authorize in-person or remote grand jury proceedings. Most grand jury and jury trial deadlines remain tolled.
Court Operating Status: Matters identified by the chief judge of each circuit, or by the presiding judge on a case-by-case basis, should be held remotely due to COVID-19 to the degree allowed by law. Any plans to resume operations should comply with social distancing mandates and account for public health circumstances and county health orders. Chief judges or presiding judges may postpone matters for health and safety reasons. Access to judiciary facilities is restricted based on public health protocols, which vary by circuit.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials can resume, barring any public health developments that would make them unsafe.
Court Operating Status: Judges generally have the discretion to hold proceedings in person or remotely, although trials involving the termination of parental rights and felony sentencing hearings must be conducted in person.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials and grand jury proceedings have resumed, subject to limitations involving public health metrics. Criminal jury trials with incarcerated defendants take priority, followed by other criminal trials and then civil trials.
Court Operating Status: Chief circuit judges have been authorized to develop localized plans for resuming operations in their circuit, based on factors provided by the Illinois Supreme Court. This has led to variations among circuits and counties. Some courts are open only for emergencies, while other courts may hear both essential and non-essential matters in person, subject to judicial discretion regarding public health considerations and court logistics. Continued use of remote proceedings is encouraged when possible to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Adult criminal case proceedings have been divided into four categories: proceedings that can be held remotely without a waiver by the defendant, proceedings that can be held remotely with a waiver by the defendant, proceedings that can be held remotely with the written consent of the defendant if the judge finds that this would not jeopardize the integrity of the trial process, and proceedings that cannot be held remotely in any circumstances (only jury trials). Separate sets of rules apply to each category.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Local courts are authorized to continue any ongoing suspension of in-person jury proceedings until further order of the Illinois Supreme Court. A criminal jury trial may not be conducted remotely, even if the defendant consents. Remote jury selection by video conference in civil cases is temporarily permitted.
Court Operating Status: To address coronavirus risks, courts are proceeding under individualized transition plans, which were submitted to the Indiana Supreme Court for approval. Although courts should make it a priority to resume holding hearings live and in person when conditions safely permit, public health conditions will likely require trial courts to retain expanded authority for remote hearings beyond July 1, 2021. Courts are authorized to live stream hearings that normally would be open to the public.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: In-person jury trials were allowed to resume on March 1, 2021. Deadlines based on trial dates have been adjusted.
Court Operating Status: Non-emergency in-person proceedings have resumed in specific courts, subject to social distancing and other public health protocols. Urgent proceedings generally will take priority, but some lower-priority cases may be heard before higher-priority cases if hearing them would not delay the higher-priority cases. Courts and attorneys are strongly encouraged to continue using videoconferencing or telephonic methods for non-evidentiary proceedings. Speedy trial deadlines in criminal cases have been extended to account for delays caused by COVID-19. Courts may conduct non-jury trials or accept specific testimony by video conference or telephone with parties’ consent.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials resumed on February 1, 2021. Trials that had not begun as of November 16, 2020 and were scheduled to begin before February 1, 2021 were continued to a date no earlier than February 1.
Court Operating Status: Courts must adopt minimum standard health protocols based on local health conditions. Courts should continue using remote hearings to handle cases efficiently and safely. A court must permit a party, attorney, or witness to participate remotely upon request if they show good cause. Suspensions of statutory deadlines and time limitations generally were lifted on April 15, 2021.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Many courts have resumed jury trials, and others plan to resume soon. A court must submit a plan for resuming jury trials to the Office of Judicial Administration. Courts must conduct criminal trials in person unless a defendant clearly waives any applicable constitutional and statutory rights. Courts should consider conducting civil trials remotely if the case is conducive to a remote proceeding, technology is available, procedural requirements are waived, and the parties consent. Jury selection should be conducted in person in most cases. A court should consider conducting grand jury proceedings virtually if the court can maintain secrecy regarding jury selection and deliberations.
Court Operating Status: Most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in May 2021. Judges may conduct in-person proceedings, although the continued use of remote technology is encouraged, and anyone with a scheduled remote hearing may appear remotely.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials may resume, although continuances, postponements, and recusals must be granted to attorneys, parties, and jurors who are ill or at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Court Operating Status: Courts may resume in-person proceedings in civil and criminal matters. However, courts are encouraged to continue to conduct matters remotely when possible, with the consent of all parties and the judge. A party in a civil matter may not unreasonably withhold consent to remote proceedings. Strict social distancing rules and occupancy limits apply to in-person proceedings to minimize coronavirus risks.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials and grand jury proceedings may move forward. Local courts must determine whether jury trials can be conducted safely in their jurisdictions. Criminal trials involving defendants in custody take priority over other trials, and jurors who cite pandemic-related health concerns must be excused.
Court Operating Status: The COVID-19 Phased Management Plan provides five phases of resuming normal operations and incorporates a long-standing priority scheduling policy. Priority cases typically involve matters in which individuals are in danger of being hurt or in which constitutional liberty interests are at stake. These matters currently consume almost all available court scheduling time and resources, but local courts have the discretion to hear a limited number of non-priority matters, subject to certain conditions.
Most proceedings presumptively must be conducted remotely. Exceptions for in-person proceedings include criminal jury trials, criminal arraignments, protection from abuse or harassment hearings, most final eviction hearings, and certain family and juvenile matters, among others. Under special circumstances, a party may file a motion to conduct a proceeding in a format other than the presumed format provided by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. A court also may order that a court proceeding be held in a non-presumptive format at its discretion, weighing the same factors that would be weighed in considering a motion by a party.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials and grand jury proceedings may be scheduled and held in accordance with the COVID-19 Phased Management Plan. Courts holding jury trials must prioritize criminal cases but may conduct civil jury trials to the extent that this does not impede their handling of priority cases.
Court Operating Status: Courts have entered Phase V (the final phase) of the reopening plan. This means that they have resumed full operations, while continuing to require social distancing and health measures. Some courts will continue using technology for remote proceedings, and this is encouraged to the extent that it is feasible.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials were allowed to resume on April 26, 2021. Criminal trials and other urgent actions will receive priority. Grand juries may continue, and new grand juries may be empaneled.
Court Operating Status: Courts will conduct in-person proceedings in matters that can be handled more effectively or efficiently in person, as well as matters that cannot be handled virtually for logistical or constitutional reasons. All other matters will be conducted virtually.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials have resumed, and 12-person juries were authorized as of May 1, 2021. Criminal cases with defendants in custody receive priority. Jurors may be excused from jury or grand jury duty upon request based on circumstances related to COVID-19. Civil jury trials may be conducted remotely with the consent of all parties, and jury empanelments may be conducted remotely with the consent of all parties. New grand juries may be empaneled under conditions imposed by the Superior Court Regional Administrative Justice.
Court Operating Status: Michigan has implemented a four-stage plan for a return to full capacity, which requires courts to meet certain gating criteria related to COVID-19 exposure in the court facility, the number of COVID-19 cases in the community, and the capacity of the local health system. Reverse-gating criteria determine when a court will move backward to an earlier phase. The proceedings that each court handles depend on the stage of the plan that it has reached. Courts should try to handle proceedings remotely as much as possible, and they must not deny a request to appear remotely unless they have a clear reason to require in-person proceedings.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Courts that have reached the second or third stage of the four-stage plan may request approval from the State Court Administrative Office to conduct jury trials. All courts that plan to conduct jury trials must submit one local administrative order that will apply to all jury trials in that jurisdiction. Following approval of the order, a court still must assess public health concerns in deciding whether to conduct each trial.
Court Operating Status: Proceedings will be held by remote technology unless they are specifically authorized to be held in person in a courtroom, or unless the chief judge of the district grants an exception. Proceedings that should be conducted in person include jury trials, grand jury proceedings, certain sentencing hearings and other criminal proceedings, certain juvenile cases, and certain proceedings in treatment court. The range of in-person proceedings will expand further in August 2021.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: In-person criminal jury trials may be held in any county if local health conditions permit. In-person civil jury trials may be held if they do not affect the scheduling of criminal jury trials in the district. Civil jury trials may be held remotely if the judge and the parties agree. Grand jury proceedings may be held in person.
Court Operating Status: Courts must fully execute their constitutional and statutory duties. Individual judges have the discretion to control their own dockets. Judges are encouraged to refer to national and state health guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 when deciding whether to conduct proceedings in person or remotely. All other COVID-19 restrictions have been removed.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials can resume, subject to the discretion of judges as described above.
Court Operating Status: As of June 15, 2021, Missouri's appellate and circuit courts will no longer be required to conduct court proceedings and courthouse activities under the previous phased COVID-19 operating framework. Chief and presiding judges shall continue to monitor local public health conditions and implement guidelines necessary to ensure the safety of those appearing or working in court facilities. Judges should consider allowing vulnerable litigants, witnesses, victims, attorneys, and participants to appear or participate remotely or postpone their required presence at a court facility.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: There will be no statewide restrictions on jury trials as of June 15, 2021. At that time, courts and judges will have discretion to follow or implement any procedures contained in the Supreme Court of Missouri’s guidelines for jury proceedings issued on April 6, 2021.
Court Operating Status: Courts can continue utilizing remote or telephone hearings. Attorneys or litigants who are considered to be at high risk if exposed to COVID-19 should be allowed to appear remotely. Courts should continue working with local health officials on screening procedures for those entering courthouses. Local orders for Montana district courts are available on the Montana Judicial Branch website.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials can take place, with public health protocols such as managing the number of jurors called for voir dire and excusing jurors in advance who may be at high risk. District courts have been issuing orders for local court operations, including provisions related to jury trials. These can be viewed on the Montana Judicial Branch website.
Court Operating Status: All courts and probation offices are open. Local courts have been issuing orders for court operations, which can be viewed on the Nebraska Judicial Branch website. Courts holding in-person proceedings must implement a plan to limit coronavirus transmission through steps such as remote hearings, social distancing, and the use of masks. Judges in each judicial district are encouraged to consult with each other and create a uniform recovery plan to transition to normal court operations.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Local courts have been issuing orders for court operations, which may include provisions related to jury trials. Local court orders can be viewed on the Nebraska Judicial Branch website.
Court Operating Status: The Nevada Supreme Court issued an administrative order on April 10, 2020, that included a template that district courts could use for issuing administrative orders regarding their operating status. This template contains a variety of provisions intended to protect public health. District courts have been issuing orders throughout the coronavirus pandemic regarding court operations. Check local courts for current operating information.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: District courts have been issuing orders regarding their court operations, which may include provisions related to jury trials. For example, the Eighth Judicial District Court (Clark County) issued orders that allowed jury trials to resume as of February 1, 2021, and outlined the prioritization of the types of cases for trial. Check local courts for current information.
Court Operating Status: The courts are in the midst of a process to fully resume in-person operations, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued its final emergency order pertaining to COVID-19 on May 14, 2021. In-person proceedings may currently be held for certain matters, such as proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants. Everyone in a judicial branch facility must wear a face covering, with limited exceptions. The Superior Court has judicial officers available at no charge to assist parties with settlement conferences.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Each county is prepared to hold jury trials, with the safety of conducting jury trials being evaluated on a weekly basis.
Court Operating Status: Most court proceedings and services continue to be provided on a “remote first” basis. Access to court facilities is restricted, and public health protocols remain in effect. As of June 15, 2021, up to 50% of judges and state court employees may be present on-site in state court locations.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: In-person criminal jury trials will resume as of June 15, 2021, with cases involving detained defendants being the priority. Most civil jury trials will continue to be conducted virtually, but they may be conducted in-person in certain circumstances (such as if a plaintiff has a limited life expectancy). In-person grand jury proceedings will resume as of June 15, 2021.
Court Operating Status: All state courts are open and operating, with public health protocols. Probate and municipal courts may close under certain circumstances. All hearings (except for jury trials) shall be conducted remotely, unless a judge specifically determines that there is a compelling need for an in-person appearance. All in-person hearings (including trials) and other court-organized gatherings shall be held in a manner that allows for social distancing.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Civil and criminal jury trials have resumed as of February 1, 2021.
Court Operating Status: Courts are expanding in-person operations, but many matters continue to be held virtually. Courts are continuing health and safety protocols, including COVID-19 screenings, acrylic barriers, social distancing, and mask requirements. Judicial districts have also issued orders pertaining to local court operations, which can be viewed on the New York State Unified Court website.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: In-person civil and criminal jury trials have resumed.
Court Operating Status: Courts are operating with reduced capacity, but efforts are being made toward a full reopening. A set of emergency directives for court operations has been extended through June 6, 2021. The North Carolina Court of Appeals has issued temporary guidelines for courtroom use that are in effect through June 15, 2021. Local court operating updates are available on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Senior resident superior court judges are strongly encouraged to do whatever they can to resume jury trials without delay. Local court operating updates are available on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website.
Court Operating Status: Due to improving circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic, the North Dakota Supreme Court has repealed or amended a number of emergency orders pertaining to court operations and procedures. Judges have discretion in deciding how court proceedings should be conducted. Court personnel and users of court facilities must meet or exceed mask or face covering requirements applicable in the local jurisdiction. In-person oral arguments will resume in the North Dakota Supreme Court in June 2021.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials have been allowed to resume.
Court Operating Status: The Supreme Court of Ohio has published operational guidance and recommendations for local courts during the coronavirus pandemic. Courts should hold all hearings and trials remotely to the extent possible. Local court operating updates are available on the Supreme Court of Ohio & Ohio Judicial System website.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: The status of jury proceedings varies by local jurisdiction, and updates are available on the Supreme Court of Ohio & Ohio Judicial System website. Any in-person trial must follow public health protocols. The Ohio Jury Trial Advisory Group has provided recommendations for resuming jury trials.
Court Operating Status: Orders have been issued at the county level pertaining to local court operations and are available on the Oklahoma State Courts Network website. District Court judges are authorized to take any steps needed to protect the health and safety of participants in court proceedings. Judges are encouraged to continue using remote means of participation for court proceedings. All rules and procedures, and all deadlines defined by statute, rule, or order in any civil, juvenile, or criminal case, are again being enforced.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: District Court judges have the authority to determine the specific timing of any jury term and civil or criminal jury trial.
Court Operating Status: All types of proceedings, including bench trials, shall be conducted remotely, with limited exceptions (including for jury trials in some circumstances). Everyone age five or older is required to wear a face covering in court facilities, with exceptions. Local court operating updates are available on the Oregon Judicial Department website.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Civil and criminal jury trials may be conducted in person. However, aspects of a trial may be conducted remotely by video if permitted by law and ordered by the judge. An entire jury trial may be conducted remotely by video if permitted by law and ordered by the judge, and if the essential technology and bandwidth are available. (A remote jury trial in a criminal case also requires the agreement of the parties.) Trials can only be held in limited circumstances in a judicial district located in a county designated as Extreme Risk in the state’s COVID-19 risk level framework.
Court Operating Status: The statewide judicial emergency ended as of June 1, 2020. However, local courts are empowered to declare local emergencies. Under such local emergencies, limits may be imposed on in-person proceedings and access to court facilities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Check local courts for updates.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Under emergencies declared by local courts, jury trials may be suspended in some areas. Check local courts for updates.
Court Operating Status: In District Court, the use of remote hearings is encouraged when the parties agree to it; if either party objects to a remote hearing, the matter will proceed in person. The District Court will begin to assign civil cases for trial (non-jury) that were filed prior to March 17, 2020. Masks must be worn (regardless of vaccination status) inside all judicial buildings.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Grand jury proceedings can take place in locations that can provide appropriate social distancing and other safety protocols. In-person jury trials are allowed to resume on a limited basis in Providence County, but no jury trial will be scheduled without the authorization of the Presiding Justice, which may occur when a constitutional, statutory, or otherwise highly critical need has been demonstrated. The Rhode Island Superior Court has published operational and safety protocols for in-person jury trials.
Court Operating Status: All circuit, family, probate, master-in-equity, and summary courts may resume in-person proceedings (other than jury trials) on March 15, 2021. In-person proceedings should continue following public health protocols. Non-jury trials and hearings may be conducted remotely, with limited exceptions.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Circuit courts may conduct in-person grand jury proceedings as of March 15, 2021. Circuit and summary courts may begin holding jury trials as of April 5, 2021. Courts are required to submit a plan for safely conducting jury trials to the Office of Court Administration. A plan must be approved by the Chief Justice before jury trials can resume.
Court Operating Status: The South Dakota Supreme Court declared a judicial emergency on March 13, 2020 and granted the Presiding Judge of each of South Dakota’s seven judicial circuits the authority to enter orders to respond to the coronavirus emergency in their respective jurisdictions. These orders and other local operating updates are available on the South Dakota Unified Judicial System website.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Check the orders and updates discussed above for local operating conditions. The South Dakota Supreme Court has also suspended provisions of South Dakota Codified Laws section 23A-44-5-1 (commonly known as the 180-day rule), which requires a defendant to be brought to trial within 180 days of their first appearance before a judicial officer on an indictment, information, or complaint.
Court Operating Status: In-person court proceedings have been allowed to resume. Courtroom capacity requirements have been lifted, but judges have the authority to limit the number of people in a courtroom as necessary. Methods to conduct court business other than in-person proceedings (such as teleconferencing and video conferencing) should be the preferred option over in-person court proceedings.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials were allowed to resume as of March 31, 2021.
Court Operating Status: Courts should continue to use reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings remotely. Any court may modify or suspend deadlines and procedures until August 1, 2021, with limited exceptions. A district court, statutory or constitutional county court, statutory probate court, justice court, or municipal court may conduct in-person proceedings (jury and non-jury) if certain conditions are met, including the adoption of public health protocols.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: In-person jury proceedings may take place if a number of requirements are met, including the adoption of public health protocols and a requirement that the court consider on the record any objection or motion related to moving forward with the proceeding. In criminal cases involving a potential jail or prison sentence, remote jury proceedings must not be conducted without waivers and consent from the defendant and the prosecutor. Remote jury proceedings must not be conducted in other cases unless the court has considered on the record any objection or motion related to moving ahead with the proceeding.
Court Operating Status: Courts are following a coronavirus pandemic Risk Response Plan, which includes color-coded phases and associated operating guidelines. The Utah Courts website displays the phase for courts in each county. In the Red phase, hearings shall be conducted on the papers or through remote means, with limited exceptions. In the Yellow phase, courts may conduct proceedings remotely or in person, subject to compliance with public health protocols and other requirements.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: For courts in the Red phase, District Court and Justice Court judges are prohibited from conducting civil or criminal jury trials, with limited exceptions. In addition, the Management Committee of the Utah Judicial Council is authorized to approve pilot projects for jury trials in the Red phase. For courts in the Yellow phase, District Court and Justice Court judges may conduct criminal and civil jury trials, subject to public health protocols and other operational requirements.
Court Operating Status: Access to judiciary buildings is limited, and public health protocols remain in effect. In-person hearings will again be authorized as of June 14, 2021, but courts are encouraged to hold remote proceedings.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Courthouses in a number of jurisdictions have been retrofitted to allow for the resumption of in-person jury trials. The Chief Superior Judge may move criminal and civil jury trials to venues that can accommodate them. Plans are also underway to allow some civil jury trials to be conducted remotely.
Court Operating Status: A Declaration of Judicial Emergency has been extended through June 20, 2021. In determining public health protocols at court facilities (such as physical distancing and masks), courts may follow guidance from the CDC, executive orders from Governor Ralph Northam, and guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health. Check local courts for specific operating updates.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Judges should exercise their discretion with regard to holding grand jury proceedings. Jury trials may resume in courts that have submitted a plan for resuming jury trials that has been approved by a panel of three Justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia. Approved plans are available on the Virginia Judicial System website.
Court Operating Status: Courts have authority to conduct all proceedings in civil matters by remote means or in person with public health protocols. Non-jury civil and criminal trials may be conducted by remote means or in person with public health protocols. The Temple of Justice building in Olympia is closed to the public until further notice. Check local courts for specific operating updates.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Civil trials already in session in which a jury has been sworn and public health measures are strictly observed may proceed or be postponed, at the discretion of the trial court or by the agreement of the parties. Courts have authority to conduct civil jury trials by remote means or in person with public health protocols. Criminal trials already in session in which a jury has been sworn and public health measures are strictly observed may proceed or be postponed if the defendant agrees to a continuance.
Court Operating Status: In-person hearings and proceedings have been allowed to resume, but the use of remote technology to conduct hearings and proceedings is encouraged. Public health protocols include a requirement that members of the public, attorneys, parties, and witnesses must wear masks in a courtroom or judicial office. Local judicial officers can implement additional measures to protect public health as appropriate for their community.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials and grand jury proceedings have been allowed to resume, subject to public health considerations and implementation of coronavirus protocols. Large-scale jury orientations or trials requiring large jury pools are currently suspended.
Court Operating Status: On May 21, 2021, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued an order that ended prior statewide COVID-19 court operating requirements. As of this date, circuit courts and municipal courts, with the approval of the applicable chief judge, shall make county-wide decisions regarding court operating requirements.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Civil and criminal jury trials can resume at a circuit court as determined via the county-level framework described above.
Court Operating Status: In-person proceedings in Circuit and District Courts and the Wyoming Supreme Court are suspended, with limited exceptions. Judges are encouraged to use remote technology for all other statutorily or constitutionally required hearings. The Wyoming Supreme Court has issued reopening guidelines for court employees and public proceedings that include public health protocols. COVID-19 operating plans for District, Circuit, and Municipal Courts are available on the Wyoming Judicial Branch website.
Jury Trials/Proceedings: Jury trials can only be held if certain conditions are met, including a determination by the presiding judge that the trial can be conducted safely. Reasonable attempts should be made to reschedule criminal trials, subject to the requirement that defendants be provided with speedy trials as required by law. All civil trials, hearings, and motions should be postponed and rescheduled for a later date, unless the presiding judge determines that the proceedings can be held remotely or based on a COVID-19 operating plan that has been adopted by the judges of the relevant courthouse and submitted to the Wyoming Supreme Court. The Wyoming Judicial Branch issued a news release on February 9, 2021, stating that Wyoming courts have increased the pace of jury trials, with more scheduled for the coming months.