Orange County Superior Court Announces Soft Re-Opening following the Covid-19 Shutdown.
On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, the Superior Court of California, County of Orange re-opened courthouses for limited services, but members of the public should not visit a courthouse unless they have been notified by the Court that they have a hearing scheduled on their matter.
Public service windows for Family Law, Civil, Probate and Small Claims will remain closed, as this is a soft reopening. Since the Court is not yet able to assist parties on a walk-in basis, it will continue to provide drop boxes for filing documents. As always, Laguna Legal can help you prepare and e-file court documents.
Beginning May 26, 2020, the branch courthouses began conducting preliminary hearings on felony matters. Criminal jury trials will start up in June. The number of hearings and trials is expected to grow over the coming weeks, as conditions allow. “We will be resuming four criminal jury trials that were suspended due to the Court closure and we hope to commence additional criminal jury trials in early June,” said Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge Kirk Nakamura.
As part of the soft opening, the Court will be strictly enforcing health protocols. The the use of facemasks or face coverings is mandatory for anyone entering a courthouse. Social distancing rules will also be strictly enforced in all facilities, thus the number of individuals entering public courtrooms and elevators will be subject to space limitations. Persons displaying possible coronavirus symptoms will not be allowed in court facilities.
The gradual reopening is necessary to ensure that the Court, as well all court users, comply with all Federal, State, and local health guidelines. The gradual reopening will enable the Court to slowly increase the caseload and visitor level at each courthouse, while at the same time monitor that health protocols are being followed.