Judge Kimberly Menninger, at the Orange County Central Justice Center, has apparently ordered three days-worth of court appearances and all the defendants and lawyers in one crowded place in one day in violation of her presiding judge’s requested order to close the courts which was signed by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court.
The O.C. Superior Court’s last Tweet, seen above, actually states that the Court will be closed at all locations for the next two weeks, through March 27.
While it is true that the O.C. Health Department has modified their Health Order today indicating that most businesses do not have to shutter it is also true that every organization should be doing everything possible to maintain as much social distancing as possible.
In Riverside County, for example, they are allowing counsel to call the courtroom clerk who then emails the new court date to the DA and counsel. As long as you have authority to waive time from your client you can call in.
Here is the latest press release from the O.C. Superior Court regarding how they are managing during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Superior Court of California
County of Orange
Public Information Office
Contact: Kostas Kalaitzidis, (657) 622-7097, PIO@occourts.org
March 12, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Santa Ana, CA – Recognizing the severity of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak nationally and internationally, the Orange County Superior Court is taking active steps to control its spread within the community.
The Court is expanding sanitation efforts in public areas with additional personnel cleaning doors, elevators, stair rails, and other frequently-touched surfaces.
If you were called for jury service and you are ill, please contact the Office of the Jury Commissioner to request a postponement prior to reporting for service, by visiting www.occourts.org/ejuror/ or by calling 657-622-7000. We will make every effort possible to grant the postponement.
The Court is working to reduce the necessity of in-person courthouse appearances where it is legally and practicably possible.
We encourage the public to minimize in-person visits to the Court, by using the available online services on the Court’s website http://www.occourts.org/onlineservices/
Such online services include:
• The payment of traffic tickets (http://www.occourts.org/directory/traffic/paymentsextensions.html)
• Contact with Self-Help (http://www.occourts.org/self-help/)
• Accessing case information (http://www.occourts.org/online-services/caseaccess/)
• Accessing forms and information on eFiling documents with the Court
• Establishing online payment plans, (https://cupportal.occourts.org/home )
• and many others.
The public is encouraged to refer to the OC Healthcare Agency website for up-to-date information about COVID-19 symptoms: http://www.ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/epidasmt/epi/dip/prevention/novel_coronavirus
Members of the public who come to Court without presenting symptoms should still follow best personal hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing, avoiding touching the face, and coughing or sneezing into the elbow.
The Court’s services and business hours otherwise remain unchanged. More information will be released as it becomes available, please visit our Court News on the web to find updates.