Expanding Los Angeles County Court Openings

On June 12, 2020, Los Angeles County Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile sent out a news release regarding the opening of the county court systems in Covid 19 era.

“As we go deeper into the phased recovery allowed by state and county public health officials, the Court has a gradual approach to assure safe access to justice in the nation’s largest trial court,” Brazile said. “We are going to take this COVID-19 recovery slowly and carefully with the help of remote courtroom technology, mandatory use of masks/facial coverings, social distancing protocols and barriers, enhanced cleaning, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, and signs to direct visitors where to stand. We are doing all we can to re-open our doors safely to restore access to justice in Los Angeles County.”

Beginning June 22, 2020:

Probate Courts expanded operations to include remote proceedings using LACourtConnect – the court’s new audio and video remote courtroom appearance technology.

Mental Health Court rooms expanded all operations via remote video.

Juvenile Dependency and Juvenile Delinquency Courts expanded to full operations via the remote appearance technology of Webex.

Civil Courtroom operations were expanded to include case management, Law and Motion, and informal conferences.  However, they can still be conducted remotely.

Settlement Courts will conduct mandatory settlement conferences via LACourtConnect.

Family Courts will continue to phase in its procedures, currently limited to Restraining Orders, post arraignment contempt and child custody matters under Family Code Section 3130.

On June 25, 2020:

The Appellate Division will open and resume full operations.  The court will also hold oral arguments.

On June 29, 2020:

Unlawful Detainer Courtrooms will resume Law and Order motions and ex-parte applications.

On July 6, 2020:

The Criminal Division will phase in operations remotely via Webex.

According to the news release, “…Proceedings shall be limited to the judicial officer presiding, court personnel, parties, counsel, witnesses and however many members of the public, including the news media, as can be accommodated in the designated courtroom while enforcing social distancing…”

To reduce foot traffic and enforce social distancing, drop boxes are now available outside courthouses for filings; the Court has established a “virtual Clerk’s Office” and enhanced virtual services for litigants needing self-help.  The court has also enhanced its availability of remote procedures via its new LACourtConnect program.

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