Court Suspends Civil Jury Trials and Other Appearances as COVID-19 Incidents Increase

The Orange County Superior Court announced today the suspension of new Civil and Probate in-person court trials and jury trials through January 29, 2021, to ensure that they are able to maintain safety protocols in light of the increase in positive cases. Trials currently under way will be allowed to continue to completion.

In addition, the Court is rescheduling all in-person Small Claims trials set from Monday, December 14, 2020 through January 29, 2021 and parties will be notified of their new hearing dates. 

“As you know, it has been a priority of our Court to continue to operate at the highest level of functionality that we can in a safe manner, but the dramatic increase in COVID-19 positive cases in our County has required us to cut back our services,” said Presiding Judge Kirk Nakamura.

Also, the Court will only hold Criminal proceedings required to prevent the dismissal of charges against defendants. Therefore, as of Monday, December 14, 2020 the Court will implement the following changes:

  • Only statutorily mandated, time-sensitive jury trials will be conducted through January 1, 2021.
  • All Criminal pre-trials will be heard remotely, except for those cases approved for resolution, motion, or other matters as determined by the Court. Remote hearings may be held telephonically and/or via WebEx with relevant legal (PC 977) authority.
  • Remote appearances can be coordinated by calling the designated hearing courtroom.
  • Approval to add a matter on calendar may be obtained by submitting a Misdemeanor Action Request (MAR)  or Felony Action Request (FAR) form. 
  • Attorneys may request a continuance by following the Criminal Operations COVID-19 Protocols.

Parties may submit MAR or FAR forms to request of the Court to take action on a case.  Some of those actions may include:

  • Case resolution, including dismissals
  • Settlement conferences
  • Submission of Tahl form(s), plea/sentencing forms, and case advancement requests
  • Warrant recall requests

“We continue to evaluate the level of our services on a daily basis in order to determine what we can safely provide to the public under the changing conditions,” Presiding Judge Nakamura said.

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