On May 4, 2020, Supreme Court of Georgia Chief Justice Harold D. Melton announced that restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials would be extended through June 12.
Under the order, courts will be encouraged to develop plans for resuming nonessential court operations that can be conducted through video or phone conferencing or by maintaining social distancing measures. The order also urges judges to use technology for conducting remote proceedings as an alternative to in-person. In addition, the court announced that Chief Justice Melton will create a task force to assist courts with remote proceedings and to develop reopening plans so that in-court business can resume safely.
Ballotpedia is tracking how state courts are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other recent updates include:
• Arizona – Arizona’s COVID-19 Continuity of Court Operations During a Public Health Emergency Workgroup released a memo outlining recommendations for best practices to reopen or restart court operations, such as maintaining health conditions when court operations resume and local transition planning and management.
• Arkansas – The Arkansas Supreme Court issued two memos, one for circuit courts and one for district courts, that provide guidance as courts return to in-person proceedings and jury trials following the coronavirus pandemic.
• Kansas – The Kansas Supreme Court issued two administrative orders, one for counties with stay-at-home orders or orders closing courts and one for counties without those types of orders. For counties with stay-at-home orders, directives include performing essential court operations through video or phone conferencing to the greatest extent possible and allowing chief judges to authorize employees to telework whenever possible. For counties without stay-at-home orders or orders closing courts, directives detail what is required to resume court operations, which include allowing chief justices to determine how best to distribute personal protective equipment and recommending that hearings be conducted remotely when possible.
• Michigan – The Michigan Supreme Court issued a Capacity Toolkit to help courts in the state plan to return to full operation following the coronavirus pandemic.
• Minnesota – The Minnesota Supreme Court extended restrictions on in-person proceedings through May 18. Jury trials are suspended until June 1.