Superior Court modifies rules in wake of pandemic outbreakFree Access

The following information was released last week by Mariposa County Superior Court Judge Dana Walton about new procedures implemented for the court.

Following is the order as it was released:

On March 12, 2020, Governor Gavin Newson issued Executive Order N-25-20 in further response to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19). Among other things, this Order mandates compliance with state and local public health officials as it pertains to measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Subsequently, the Mariposa County Public Health Department (Public Health) issued an order that all non-essential gatherings of more than 250 persons be canceled or postponed, which was immediately followed by recommendations from the governor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending gatherings of no more than 50 persons.

In light of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order, President Trump’s March 13, 2020, National Emergency Declaration and the March 13,2020, Public Health Emergency declared by the Mariposa County Public Health Department, and the recommendations from the governor and the CDC, the court is taking specific preventative action.

Effective Wednesday, March 18, the Mariposa County Superior Court will adjust its court operations as follows:

 All civil jury trials, time-waived misdemeanor jury trials, and time-waived felony jury trials set between Tuesday, March 17, and Tuesday, May 5, 2020, will be continued and reset to a date agreeable to all counsel.

 All traffic hearings currently set between Monday, March 23, and Monday, April 27, 2020, will be continued on a rolling basis for 60 days from the currently scheduled trial date.

 Starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all traffic and collection “walk in” appearances will be suspended through Monday, May 1, 2020. Parties in traffic matters may telephone the clerk’s office at (209) 966-2005 to schedule an arraignment date. Any other citation appearance dates set during this period, or failures to appear, will be automatically extended to a date after May 1; parties will be noticed.

 Family court in-person mediation services will be suspended, effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Litigants wishing to schedule telephonic mediation opportunities should telephone the Court Clerk’s Office.

 All Drug Court and Behavioral Court review hearings currently set between March 18 and April 22, 2020 are continued to April 29, 2020.

 The Court’s Self-Help/Family Law Facilitator Center will be closed. In-person interviews will be suspended, effective Tuesday, March 18, 2020. Some self-help assistance is available from the Sharp Courts self-help assistance and referral program at sharpcourt.org.

 Those persons needing forms can pick them up from the Court Clerk’s office, or online at courts.ca.gov/forms or sharpcourts.org. No-time-waiver criminal matters, restraining order hearings, emergency family law Requests for Orders, and other case or calendar types and hearings not specifically listed above will continue to be heard as court resources and health directives permit, but with the following modifications:

 Attorneys and litigants are strongly encouraged to file documents by fax at (209) 742-6860 or by mail.

 Attorneys and litigants are strongly encouraged to make court appearances telephonically or through CourtCall in all case types. For CourtCall, call (888) 882-6878.

 Subject to local judicial discretion, the court will liberally grant hearing continuances upon request and will be reducing calendar sizes and stagger the calling of different calendar types to minimize health and safety concerns.

 The court will only summon jurors to the courthouse for “essential” trials as required by law. In those circumstances, jury panel sizes will be reduced, and trial calls will be staggered to reduce group sizes.

 The Court will continue to grant Covid-19 related deferrals. Prospective jurors may make such request through the link on the Court’s website, or by calling the Clerk’s Office.

 The Court asks that, when entering a courtroom, members of the public should keep at least six feet between themselves and the next unfamiliar person.

 The Court further asks that members of the public allow spacing of six feet while waiting in lines, and that they not crowd other confined spaces. Court visitors may be asked to wait in hallways or outside courtrooms and the courthouse to minimize gathering sizes in closed areas. Please follow the accommodation, health and safety directions of any sheriff’s deputies or other court employees offering their assistance.

 As a reminder, those who are ill should stay home; the court may ask members of the public who are exhibiting visible symptoms of illness such as coughing to leave.

The Court will continue to monitor this evolving situation and will make further operational adjustments as appropriate. Please check the court’s website (www.mariposacourt.org) for ongoing Covid-19 updates and additional juror and remote appearance information.

The Court supports and agrees with the statement issued by California’s Chief Justice, Hon. Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, on March 13, 2020: “Although the extent of the pandemic is unknown at this time, California’s courts will continue to do what they do best: balancing public safety and health while protecting liberty and due process.”

The Mariposa County Superior Court will strive to maintain our essential functions and Constitutional obligations while working to minimize Covid-19-related risks. We appreciate the understanding, patience, and support of the public and our Court partners during these challenging times.

This order remains in effect until May 1, 2020, unless modified, canceled or extended by written order.

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