Santa Ana, CA – Recognizing the severity of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak nationally and internationally, Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge Nakamura has taken steps to help control its spread within the community. “The Court continues to recognize its responsibility to provide access to justice and protect all constitutional rights of all residents of Orange County in these difficult and challenging times,” said Kirk Nakamura, Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge.

DECREASING THE NUMBER OF JURORS SUMMONED

The Court made steps which will significantly reduce the number of jurors summoned to serve in all trials. The Court will suspend all unlimited civil jury trials until May 1, 2020. The court will reduce the numbers of summoned jurors in criminal trials and will stagger the times the jurors are ordered to appear. The court is working closely with the District Attorney, the Public Defender, and other stakeholders to postpone cases within the confines of the law.

The Court mandated that all civil appearances before the court be conducted via audio video call-in software system CourtCall until May 1, 2020. Personal appearances in the Court will be permitted only in hearings or trials where witnesses are expected to testify. (See attached administrative order).

CONTINUING TRAFFIC ARRAIGNMENTS AND SMALL CLAIMS CASE TYPES

The Court will postpone all traffic arraignments for 45 days and small claims case types to avoid appearances of traffic defendants, small claims litigants,and witnesses.

MAINTAINING ACCESS FOR CIVIL HARASSMENT AND UNLAWFUL DETAINER CASES

In order to assure access to litigants seeking protective orders, Civil Harassment calendars will continue to be heard. Moreover, to comply with statutory guidelines, unlawful detainer trials will be conducted in the usual manner.

MINIMIZING EXPOSURE TO THE PUBLIC

In Probate cases, the court is exploring ways to minimize the appearance of the elderly and the mental health infirm individuals to minimize the potential exposure to the virus. The Court will be in frequent contact with all Justice Partners to continually assess the need for in-person appearances in all case types and the transportation of in-custody defendants, particularly those that might have been exposed to the virus. This includes allowing attorney appearances on behalf of out of custody defendants without the personal appearance of defendants with proper authority.

INCREASED SANITATION EFFORTS OF THE COURTS

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.

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 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.

View the full notice here.

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