March 16, 2020
COVID-19: Courthouse Closure and Court Hearing Information

Clerk's Office Reduced Phone Hours:
Sacramento   9:00am - 1:00pm
Fresno            9:00am - 12:00pm
OR email 9:00am to 4:00pm to:
(and we will promptly respond)

Media Access to Court Proceedings
The court recognizes the Constitutional right of the media to access any court proceedings occurring in a courtroom on behalf of the public. Therefore, a member of the media may enter courthouse property upon presenting legitimate press credentials to court security and identifying a court proceeding that person will attend. If a member of the media wishes to monitor a court proceeding telephonically, that person shall contact the Courtroom Deputy for the judge presiding over the proceeding. Upon the media representative’s presentation of legitimate press credentials to the Courtroom Deputy, the Courtroom Deputy will provide instructions for allowing telephone access on a secure line, at no cost, to listen to the hearing with all other court rules in effect including the court’s standing prohibition on audio recording.

Public Access to Court Proceedings
Given that the Eastern District’s courthouses are closed for a significant period of time in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and recognizing the presumption of a public right to access court proceedings, the court is providing for members of the general public to listen to court proceedings still being held, by telephone or digital audio connection. Instructions for listening to a court hearing will be provided at the top of the calendar for that hearing, with a dial in number and access code or other connection information for use in connecting at least 10 minutes prior to the hearing start time. Access to the hearing will be locked once the hearing begins, after which point a member of the public will not be able to connect. Once connected, any member of the public must mute his or her connection and leave it muted for the entirety of the hearing. A person's failure to mute a connection may result in the hearing being terminated and recommenced without public access available for the remainder of that hearing, or that person’s connection privileges being limited or revoked. Members of the public listening to a court proceeding are reminded that the making or transmitting of any audio recording of all or part of a court hearing is strictly prohibited. See Local Rule 173(a) (“All forms, means, and manner of taking photographs, tape recordings, broadcasting, or televising are prohibited in all courtrooms and the corridors adjacent thereto in the United States Courthouse Buildings during the course of, or in connection with, any judicial proceedings, whether the Court is actually in session or not.”).

General Order 618 - Further Extending Temporary Restrictions on Courthouse Access and In Court Hearings Until Further Notice (issued 05/13/2020). Superseding the prior General Order issued on April 17, 2020, closures extended until further notice.

General Order 617 - Extending Temporary Restrictions on Courthouse Access and In Court Hearings (issued 04/17/2020). Effective immediately through June 1, 2020, [the Chief Judge] hereby issue[s] the following Order on behalf of the Court to supplement the prior orders issued on March 12, 17, 18 and 30, 2020, with the findings relied on in those orders incorporated in full herein:

JC Order and Report re Judicial Emergency in CA-E - Declares a judicial emergency under 18 U.S.C. § 3174(e) beginning March 17, 2020 suspending the Speedy Trial Act (STA) time limits required by 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c). The Judicial Council agreed to continue the judicial emergency in the Eastern District of California until May 2, 2021. 

General Order 616 - Consent and Signature Requirements on Documents Filed in Criminal Actions During the COVID-19 Public Emergency (issued 04/15/2020). Allows for electronic signatures on court documents during the current public health situation related to COVID-19.

General Order 615 - Social Security Matters Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) During the COVID-19 Public Emergency  (issued 04/14/2020). The United States has moved ex parte for a temporary order staying civil matters involving the Commissioner of Social Security as a party under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Eastern District of California's Request for Suspension of Speedy Trial Act Deadlines Given Judicial Emergency Due to Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic (18 U.S.C. § 3174)

General Order 614 - Coronavirus Public Emergency Authorizing Video-teleconferencing and Telephone Conferencing for Criminal Proceedings Under Section 15002 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (issued 03/30/2020). Authorizes the use of videoconferencing, or telephone conferencing if videoconferencing is not reasonably available for criminal court proceedings. 

General Order 613 - Temporary Procedures to Provide Pretrial Service Reports by Email to Assigned Counsel (AUSA and Defense Attorney) Who Are Appearing Telephonically or by Video (issued 03/25/2020). Permits the United States Pretrial Services for the Eastern District of California to appear telephonically in criminal proceedings.

General Order 612Additional Temporary Restrictions on Courthouse Access and in Courthouse Hearings (issued 03/17/2020). Closes all Courthouses in the Eastern District of California to the public until May 1, 2020.

Additional Guidance on General Order 612“Persons having official court business” is defined to mean counsel representing a party on a published court calendar, parties required by the court to appear in person for the matter and credentialed press. Any other person must obtain the advance written approval of the judge presiding over the proceeding and present that approval to court security. 

General Order 611 - Findings and Order as to Court Proceedings in Light of COVID-19, Also Known as Coronavirus (issued 03/17/2020). Postponing all jury trials until May 1, 2020.

General Order 610 - Restrictions on visitors to Eastern District of California Courthouses (issued 03/12/2020).

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