Court Battles

DC Superior Court postponing new criminal trials amid coronavirus

Judges use a small wooden mallet to signal for attention or order.

The D.C. Superior Court will postpone all new criminal trials amid the coronavirus outbreak, the court announced Sunday

The Superior Court is limiting all matters it hears before May 1 and released a “detailed plan for adjustments in operations” as the coronavirus emergency continues. All new jury trials will be delayed until at least March 30 and “may be extended beyond then,” according to a release from the Superior Court. 

“All persons summoned for jury duty from March 16‐27 should not come to the courthouse,” the release states. 

Ongoing trials with juries will continue as scheduled, the court announced. Overall, the court will not be closing and will remain open for new filings in any division.

The court plans to only hear emergency matters in Civil, Family Court, Probate and Tax Divisions and Auditor Master, with “all other matters” continuing.

All evictions will be stayed during this period, and all Stay Away Orders and Protection Orders in Domestic Violence cases will go on to May 1. Anyone looking for new protection orders “will have access to the court processes.”

The Marriage Bureau will remain open to provide licenses. Wedding ceremonies that were previously scheduled will go on as planned, but the court asked planners to “please limit the numbers of attendees.” 

Criminal hearings will continue for Drug Court and Mental Health Community Court, extradition matters, presentment of indictments, pretrial and probation show cause hearings, motions to review conditions of release and presentments, arraignments, preliminary hearings and status hearings for detained prisoners. 

In the Family Court, certain juvenile cases, Mental Health Commission hearings for inpatient respondents, Mental Health Probable Cause hearings and abuse and neglect cases will progress.  

The country’s capital is beginning to take steps to combat the virus, including announcing restrictions on bars and restaurants, announced by Mayor Muriel Bowser Sunday. The Capitol, White House and Pentagon have canceled public tours of their buildings because of the spreading virus.

The virus has infected more than 3,200 people in the U.S., killing at least 62 and allowing 12 to recover, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Tags Coronavirus D.C. Superior Court Washington D.C.
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