Superior Court Update – June 2020
Remote services will increase, and in-person services will continue to be limited in San Diego.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Diego Superior Court has been closed for most non-emergency services from March 17 through May 22. On Tuesday, May 26, the Court resumed many services, though most will be provided remotely. With the community spread of COVID-19 still a concern, in-person services at the courthouses will continue to be limited to urgent needs.
“Incredible behind-the-scenes work has been done throughout the Court’s closure with staff and justice partners working tirelessly to enable remote work that has never before been a part of the Court’s processes,” said San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne. “Our teams have navigated uncharted territories and found workable solutions for us to get back to a level of normal operations without having large numbers of people coming into the courthouses.”
Rescheduling notices are in progress to be sent to involved parties for more than 87,000 hearings. Most of those hearings will be handled remotely via video or telephone conference. Additional remote services include the creation and launch of a self-scheduling application on the Court’s website for Civil matters in need of status conferences to reset motions that were taken off calendar due to the COVID-19 closure and a new permanent option for electronic filing (eFile) of Family Law documents, saving time and eliminating the need to come in-person to the courthouse. In-person filings will only be accepted as drop offs and same-day processing of most new case initiations will not be available.
For those who must come into the courthouses for urgent needs, several precautions have been taken to maintain the safety of all court visitors and employees, including temperatures being taken at the door, increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and additional hand sanitizer kiosks in public areas. Masks or facial coverings will be required to be worn and social distancing will be enforced throughout the courthouses. Read the entire news release here.
We received additional information from Judge Lewis Hoy informing us that the court clerks will commence with moving all of the RFO matters set in the family law departments upon opening. Notices will be sent with the new court date and information as to how the appearance will be made. The goal is that the Family Law departments will start hearing DVTRO matters the week of June 8, 2020, and regular RFO matters the week of June 15, 2020. DCSS matters are also being reset and they anticipate that they will be able to start hearing matters the week of June 15, 2020 as well.
All trials and evidentiary hearings that were set during the closure throughout the entire county will be set for a status conference that will be conducted by Microsoft Teams in the three long cause trial departments. The purpose of the status conference will be to determine the status of the matter so that it can be rescheduled appropriately. We anticipate that the notices will be sent out during the week of June 1, 2020, for those evidentiary hearings and trials.
Matters set in the long cause trial departments will be reset by the individual departments. The trial judges and clerks will work with the parties to reschedule these matters.
E-filing and dropbox filing were also be available as of Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Court staff will be working through those filings as quickly as possible, but please expect some delay. The matters missed due to the closure are the top priority and will be reset first. Matters set from May 26, 2020, to July 24, 2020, were continued 60 days to be able to accommodate March 17, 2020 to May 22, 2020 cases. Therefore, as you can expect, new filings after May 26, 2020, will be set late summer or early fall. This will vary between departments.
You can visit the San Diego Superior Court website sdcourt.ca.gov for continued updates.