Criminal and civil jury trials will resume fully in Los Angeles County’s courthouses beginning this coming Monday, Feb. 14, the court’s presiding judge announced Wednesday, citing subsiding COVID-19 cases.
“The court is working with its justice partners and members of the civil bar to resume full trial operations now that COVID trends are improving in LA County after the Omicron surge,” Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor said in a statement. “Throughout the pandemic, we have prioritized safe access to justice – – and will continue to do so. I remain in close contact with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to assess any emerging virus threats. However, while virus spread and hospitalizations are declining, it is time to restore full operations.”
The decision follows three emergency orders issued last month that authorized temporary delays in criminal jury trials and preliminary hearings amid the COVID surge. Preliminary hearings are also set to resume fully on Monday, Feb. 14.
Civil judicial officers had largely chosen to pause civil jury trials during that time period and prioritized virtual mandatory settlement conferences to facilitate case resolutions, according to the court.
The court’s longstanding mandatory face mask order requiring all people regardless of vaccination status to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while in a courthouse will remain in effect, officials said.