Judge extends closure of federal courthouses, delays jury trials, due to COVID-19
–Chief Judge Philip S. Gutierrez announces the United States District Court for the Central District of California has extended its Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan through and including Jan. 29. The district includes Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County.
Extension of the COOP Plan is necessary to ensure the continuous performance of essential functions and operations of the court in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the court’s COOP Plan went into effect on Dec. 9, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and test positivity rates in the Central District have continued to increase. The ICU availability in the Southern California region, which includes the entire Central District, is currently at 0%, and the state’s regional stay-at-home order remains in effect in the Southern California region.
The following actions taken pursuant to the COOP Plan remain in effect:
- All courthouses of the Central District of California will be closed to the public except for hearings on criminal duty matters, as discussed below.
- No in-person hearings will go forward except for hearings on criminal duty matters, as discussed below.
- In civil cases, all appearances will be by telephone or video conference.
- Criminal bench duty will continue to take place in each division by telephone or video conference with the defendant’s consent and in court absent consent. All criminal document duty will be handled by each division in the normal course of business. In other criminal matters, all appearances will be by telephone or video conference.
- For members of the press or public who wish to listen in on a hearing, refer to the assigned judge’s procedures and schedules web page or calendar for login-in or call-in information. If login-in or call-in information is not available, submit a Hearing Access Request Form at least four hours prior to the hearing.
- Jury trials remain suspended.
- All regularly scheduled grand jury proceedings are suspended and grand jurors will not otherwise be required to report for service or to call in to the United States Attorney’s Office for reporting purposes during the period for which grand jury proceedings are suspended.