On April 8, the United States Federal Courts announced that federal judges nationwide have moved court operations virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is the latest in a series of changes that courts at all levels have enacted in response to the pandemic.
As of April 8, a majority of states have suspended in-person proceedings and jury trials. With a number of these orders set to end in late March or early April, some courts are beginning to extend their original dates to ones further in the future or until further notice.
For example, following an original end date of April 10, the Idaho Supreme Court issued an order on March 24 extending the suspension of civil and criminal trials through April 30. Supreme Courts in New Jersey, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wyoming have all issued amended orders with dates in the future.
Some courts are leaving their timelines for resuming regular operation less concrete. Courts in South Carolina and Kansas ordered that in-person proceedings and jury trials be suspended until further notice, leaving the date for restarting normal court operations open.
A few states have completely closed courthouses. On April 6, Connecticut’s Judicial Branch announced that all courthouses would close on April 7, and beginning April 14, they will remain closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays until further notice. The Delaware Supreme Court ordered all court facilities closed to the public until April 15.