Connecticut Federal Court and COVID-19
No matter where you are in America, the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak has impacted court operations. Thankfully, the judges, clerks and staff in the District of Connecticut have done an excellent job minimizing the impact, promoting safety and continuing court operations during this crisis.
Masks Required to Enter Any CT Federal Court
You may not like it but masks are required in any public space (courtroom, hallways and bathrooms) on the unlikely occasion that you need to appear in person in any Connecticut Federal Court. This order was issued on May 19, 2020 and is in effect until further notice. It includes an option for any presiding judge to permit witnesses to remove masks while testifying in court.
In-Person Proceedings Continued Through June 15, 2020
Right now, anything scheduled to occur up to and including June 15, 2020 is continued if the scheduled matter required an in-person hearing. The District Court will hear criminal matters and civil matters which require a prompt hearing under Fed.R.Civ.P. 65 in court or by video conference.
Each district judge and magistrate has the discretion to hear matters in court when the interests of justice so require, taking into consideration the public health risks.
Civil & Criminal Jury Service Suspended Through September 1, 2020
Not surprisingly, the District Court has ordered the suspension of criminal and civil jury trials if scheduled on or before September 2, 2020. Given the health risks, this time is excluded under the Speedy Trial Act.
Chambers Copies Suspended
Despite having the CM/ECF system for e-filing and service of all court documents, many judges like paper courtesy copies and expressly provide for chambers copies of certain types of filings. Until further notice, chambers copies are no longer needed. With the judges, clerks and staff teleworking as much as possible, this seems very sensible.
Clerk’s Office Closed to Public Until Further Notice
Because of public health risks, there will be no more last minute visits to the Clerk’s Office as it has been closed to the public since March 24, 2020. The District of Connecticut is lucky to have a NextGEN PACER system. The CM/ECF system essentially eliminates the need to visit the clerk’s office. Drop boxes and time stamps are provided for manual filings. To the extent not covered in the CM/ECF system, payments are to be made by mail.
If you have a question about appearing pro hac vice in state court or federal court in Connecticut, local counsel services, or appearing as a visiting lawyer before a state agency or in an arbitration proceeding in Connecticut, please feel free to call Attorney John Radshaw in New Haven today at (203) 654-9695. For more information about Attorney Radshaw and his practice, visit www.jjr-esq.com.