LOS ANGELES – California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye suspended all jury trials in California’s superior courts for 60 days and allowed courts to immediately adopt new rules to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile Monday signed an order restricting access to all Los Angeles County courthouses to judges, commissioners, court staff and authorized persons until further notice.
Cantil-Sakauye said her order is aimed at ensuring California courts can meet stringent health directives, such as maintaining a 6-foot distance from others, in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“Courts cannot comply with these health restrictions and continue to operate as they have in the past,” Cantil-Sakauye said. “Court proceedings require gatherings of court staff, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, and juries, well in excess of the numbers allowed for gathering under current executive and health orders.
“Many court facilities in California are ill-equipped to effectively allow the social distancing and other public health requirements required to protect people involved in court proceedings and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”
Brazile’s order Monday includes delayed proceedings in all misdemeanor cases involving a defendant who is out of custody for 90 days, unless required by law, and makes bail review hearings a priority matter for the next 60 days.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the court has taken numerous measures to protect the public it serves, as well as its staff and judicial officers, while fulfilling its statutory duties,” Brazile said.
“In so doing, the court is committed to implementing measures recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and that are consistent with our obligation to maintain a safe workplace.”