Information Regarding COVID-19 and Court Operations, Restrictions, and Closures


The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California continues to closely monitor the national response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and will be following guidance provided by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and California Department of Public Health (CDPH). 

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)
Sac-Info@caed.uscourts.gov
Fresno-Info@caed.uscourts.gov


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 620 - 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 06/29/2020)

Effective immediately, the Chief Judge hereby orders as follows:

1. I hereby authorize the use of videoconferencing, or telephone conferencing if videoconference is not reasonably available, for all events listed in Section 15002(b) of the CARES Act, including:

a. Detention hearings under 18 U.S.C. § 3142;
b. Initial appearances under Fed. R. Crim. P. 5;
c. Preliminary hearings under Fed. R. Crim. P. 5.1;
d. Waivers of indictment under Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(b);
e. Arraignments under Fed. R. Crim. P. 10;
f. Probation and supervised release revocation proceedings under Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.1;
g. Pretrial release revocation proceedings under 18 U.S.C. § 3148;
h. Appearances under Fed. R. Crim. P. 40;
i. Misdemeanor pleas and sentencings as described in Fed. R. Crim. P. 43(b)(2); and
j. Proceedings under 18 U.S.C. ch. 403 (the “Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act”), except for contested transfer hearings and juvenile delinquency adjudication or trial proceedings.

2. If a judge in an individual case finds, for specific reasons, that a felony plea or sentencing in that case cannot be further delayed without serious harm to the interests of justice, the judge may, with the consent of the defendant after consultation with counsel, use videoconferencing, or teleconferencing if videoconferencing is not reasonably available, for the felony plea or sentencing in that case. The defendant’s consent may be obtained on the record at the time of the relevant event and need not be in writing.

3. As provided by Section 15002(b)(3) of the CARES Act, the authorization provided in this order will continue to remain in effect for another 90 days unless terminated earlier. If emergency conditions continue to exist 90 days from the entry of this order, I will review this authorization and determine whether to extend it.


General Order 618 - Further Extending Temporary Restrictions on Courthouse Access and In Court Hearings Until Further Notice.
(Issued 05/13/2020)

In light of the best information available to the Judges of the Eastern District of California at this time, until further notice, on behalf of the Court, [the Chief Judge] hereby issue[s] the following Order superseding the prior General Order issued on April 17, 2020:

1. In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all courthouses of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California shall remain closed to the public. Only persons having official court business as authorized by a Judge of the District Court or the Bankruptcy Court, or a healthy building tenant having official business on behalf of a tenant agency, may enter courthouse property. This order applies to the following divisional locations:

(1) The Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse, 501 I Street, Sacramento;
(2) The Robert E. Coyle United States Courthouse, 2500 Tulare Street, Fresno;
(3) The Redding Federal Courthouse, 2986 Bechelli Lane, Redding;
(4) The Bakersfield Federal Courthouse, 510 19th Street, Bakersfield;
(5) The Yosemite Federal Courthouse, 9004 Castle Cliff Court, Yosemite; and
(6) The Modesto U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 1200 I Street, Second Floor, Modesto.

2. The court will not call in jurors for service in civil or criminal jury trials 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:

1. In light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, all courthouses of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California shall remain closed to the public. Only persons having official court business as authorized by a Judge of the District Court or the Bankruptcy Court, or a healthy building tenant having official business on behalf of a tenant agency, may enter courthouse property. This order applies to the following divisional locations:

(1) The Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse, 501 I Street, Sacramento;
(2) The Robert E. Coyle United States Courthouse, 2500 Tulare Street, Fresno;
(3) The Redding Federal Courthouse, 2986 Bechelli Lane, Redding;
(4) The Bakersfield Federal Courthouse, 510 19th Street, Bakersfield;
(5) The Yosemite Federal Courthouse, 9004 Castle Cliff Court, Yosemite; and
(6) The Modesto U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 1200 I Street, Second Floor, Modesto.

2. The court will not call in jurors for service in civil or criminal jury trials until June 15, 2020, at the earliest, if courthouses reopen to the public on June 1, 2020. All civil and criminal jury trials in the Eastern District of California scheduled to begin before June 15, 2020 are further continued pending further order of the court.

3. All of the court’s civil matters will be decided on the papers, or if the assigned Judge believes a hearing is necessary, the hearing will be by telephone or videoconference. This applies to all matters including motion hearings, case management conferences, pretrial conferences and settlement conferences.

4. In civil matters and bankruptcy matters in which parties represent themselves (pro se litigants), those parties continue to be strongly encouraged to file documents by mail. For those unable to file by mail the court is providing drop boxes for filing inside the entrances to the Sacramento, Fresno and Modesto courthouses, that otherwise previously have accepted handdelivered pro se filings in the Clerk’s Offices for those courts.

5. In the court’s criminal matters, all initial appearances, arraignments and other essential proceedings will continue to be held before the duty Magistrate Judges, unless the parties agree to continue them; to the full extent possible matters that are maintained on calendar shall be conducted by telephone or videoconference as provided by General Order 614.

6. In criminal cases before the District Judges, the assigned District Judge may continue matters to a date after June 1, 2020, excluding time under the Speedy Trial Act with reference to the court’s prior General Order 611 issued on March 17, 2020, the court’s subsequent declaration of a judicial emergency based on 18 U.S.C. § 3174, and the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council’s Order of April 16, 2020 continuing this court’s judicial emergency for an additional one-year period and suspending the time limits of 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c) until May 2, 2021, with additional findings to support the exclusion in the Judge’s discretion; if any criminal matters are maintained on calendar, to the full extent possible they shall be conducted by telephone or videoconference, also as provided by General Order 614.

7. Any Judge may order case-by-case exceptions to any of the above numbered provisions for non-jury court matters at the discretion of that Judge or upon the request of counsel, after consultation with counsel.


JC Order and Report re Judicial Emergency in CA-E
(Adopted 04/16/2020)

On March 17, 2020, Chief District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller declared a judicial emergency in the Eastern District of California pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3174(e). Finding no reasonably available remedy, the Judicial Council agreed to continue the judicial emergency for an additional one-year period and suspend the time limits of 18 U.S.C. § 316l(c). The continued judicial emergency will end on 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)

IT IS ORDERED THAT, where a judge finds that obtaining an actual signature is impracticable or imprudent in light of the public health situation relating to COVID-19, any document may be signed electronically using the format “/s/ name.”

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, where a defendant's signature is called for, unless otherwise ordered by the court defense counsel may sign electronically on the defendant's behalf using the format “/s/ name” and file the signed document electronically after defendant has an opportunity to consult with counsel and consents to counsel’s signing on defendant’s behalf.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, for the avoidance of doubt, where consent or waiver is not explicitly required to be in writing by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or other applicable law, such consent or waiver may be obtained in whatever form is most practicable under the circumstances, so long as the defendant's consent or waiver is clearly reflected on the record.


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)
(Posted 04/9/2020)

Request on behalf of the Eastern District of California that the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit grant a suspension of the time limits provided by the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c), for a period of time not to exceed one year, as allowed by 18 U.S.C. § 3174(b).


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)

(1) [The Chief Judge] hereby authorize[s] the use of videoconferencing, or telephone conferencing if videoconference is not reasonably available, for all events listed in Section 15002(b) of the CARES Act, including:

a. Detention hearings under 18 U.S.C. § 3142;
b. Initial appearances under Fed. R. Crim. P. 5;
c. Preliminary hearings under Fed. R. Crim. P. 5.1;
d. Waivers of indictment under Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(b);
e. Arraignments under Fed. R. Crim. P. 10;
f. Probation and supervised release revocation proceedings under Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.1;
g. Pretrial release revocation proceedings under 18 U.S.C. § 3148;
h. Appearances under Fed. R. Crim. P. 40;
i. Misdemeanor pleas and sentencings as described in Fed. R. Crim. P. 43(b)(2); and 
j. Proceedings under 18 U.S.C. ch. 403 (the “Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act”), except for contested transfer hearings and juvenile delinquency adjudication or trial proceedings.

(2) If a judge in an individual case finds, for specific reasons, that a felony plea or sentencing in that case cannot be further delayed without serious harm to the interests of justice, the judge may, with the consent of the defendant after consultation with counsel, use videoconferencing, or teleconferencing if videoconferencing is not reasonably available, for the felony plea or sentencing in that case. The defendant’s consent may be obtained on the record at the time of the relevant event and need not be in writing.

(3) As provided by Section 15002(b)(3) of the CARES Act, the authorization provided in this order will remain in effect for 90 days unless terminated earlier. If emergency conditions continue to exist 90 days from the entry of this order, [the Chief Judge] will review this authorization and determine whether to extend it. 


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)

Through May 1, 2020 and any time thereafter based upon a further General Order or any extension(s) of Generals Orders 611 and 612, the United States Pretrial Services for the Eastern District of California may appear telephonically in criminal proceedings. Pretrial Services shall email pretrial services reports to the assigned counsel (AUSA and FDO/Panel Attorney/retained Counsel) who are appearing telephonically or by video in criminal cases.


General Order 612 - Additional Temporary Restrictions on Courthouse Access and in Courthouse Hearings.
(Issued 03/18/2020)

Effective immediately through May 1, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California hereby issues the following Order to supplement its prior orders issued on March 12 and 17, 2020, with the findings relied on in those orders incorporated in full herein:

  1. In light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, all courthouses of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California shall be closed to the public. Only persons having official court business as authorized by a Judge of the District Court or the Bankruptcy Court, or a healthy building tenant having official business on behalf of a tenant agency, may enter courthouse property. This order applies to the following divisional locations:

         (1) The Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse, 501 I Street, Sacramento;
         (2) The Robert E. Coyle United States Courthouse, 2501 Tulare Street, Fresno;
         (3) The Redding Federal Courthouse, 2986 Bechelli Lane, Redding;
         (4) The Bakersfield Federal Courthouse, 510 19th Street, Bakersfield;
         (5) The Yosemite Federal Courthouse, 9004 Castle Cliff Court, Yosemite; and
         (6) The Modesto U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 1200 I Street, Second Floor, Modesto.
  2. All of the court’s civil matters will be decided on the papers, or if the assigned Judge believes a hearing is necessary, the hearing will be by telephone or videoconference. This applies to all matters including motion hearings, case management conferences, pretrial conferences and settlement conferences.
  3. In civil matters and bankruptcy matters in which parties represent themselves (pro se litigants), those parties are strongly encouraged to file documents by mail. For those unable to file by mail the court will provide drop boxes for filing inside the entrances to the Sacramento, Fresno and Modesto courthouses, that otherwise previously have accepted hand-delivered pro se filings in the Clerk’s Offices for those courts.
  4. In the court’s criminal matters all initial appearances, arraignments and other essential proceedings will continue to be held before the duty Magistrate Judges, unless the parties agree to continue them; to the full extent possible matters that are maintained on calendar shall be conducted by telephone or video conference.
  5. In criminal cases before the District Judges, the assigned District Judge may continue matters to a date after May 1, 2020, excluding time under the Speedy Trial Act with reference to the court’s prior General Order 611 issued on March 17, 2020, with additional findings to support the exclusion in the Judge’s discretion; if any criminal matters are maintained on calendar, to the full extent possible they shall be conducted by telephone or video conference.
  6. Any Judge may order case-by-case exceptions to any of the above numbered provisions for non-jury court matters at the discretion of that Judge or upon the request of counsel, after consultation with counsel.

Additional Guidance on General Order 612 - Interpretation of General Order 612; Clarification Regarding Media Access
(Issued March 20, 2020)

Clarification

General Order 612 provides as follows, in pertinent part:

“Only persons having official court business as authorized by a Judge of the District Court or the
Bankruptcy Court, or a healthy building tenant having official business on behalf of a tenant
agency, may enter courthouse property.”

“Persons having official court business” is defined to mean only the following essential
individuals: counsel representing a party to an item on a published court calendar and a party
required by the court to appear in person for the matter calendared. Any other person who
believes he or she has a right to attend a court proceeding, and desires to attend the hearing in
person, must qualify as someone who is essential to the proceeding, obtain the advance written
approval of the judge presiding over the proceeding and present that approval to court security in
order to enter courthouse property.

Media Access

The court recognizes the Constitutional right of the media to access court proceedings on behalf
of the public. Therefore, a member of the media may enter courthouse property upon presenting
bonafide 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 bonafide 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 standing
prohibition on audio recording.


General Order 611 - Findings and Order as to Court Proceedings in Light of COVID-19, Also Known as Coronavirus.
(Issued 03/17/2020)

 

  1. The United States Courthouses in Sacramento, Modesto (with hearings held in Sacramento during ongoing remodeling), Fresno, Bakersfield, Yosemite and Redding will remain open for business, subject to the following limitations.
  2. Effective immediately, the court will not call in jurors for service in civil or criminal jury trials until May 1, 2020. All civil and criminal jury trials in the Eastern District of California scheduled to begin during this time period are continued pending further order of the court. The court may issue other orders concerning future continuances as necessary and appropriate.
  3. All courtroom proceedings and filing deadlines in a case will remain in place unless otherwise ordered by the Judge presiding over that case.
  4. The time period of any continuance entered in a criminal case as a result of this order shall be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A), as the court finds based on the recitals above that the ends of justice served by taking that action outweigh the interests of the parties and the public in a speedy trial. Absent further order of the court or any individual judge, the period of exclusion shall be from March 17, 2020, to May 1, 2020. The court may extend the period of exclusion in a subsequent order as evolving circumstances warrant.
  5. Individual judges may continue to hold hearings, conferences and bench trials in the exercise of their discretion, including by teleconference or videoconference, consistent with this order.
  6. Criminal matters before Magistrate Judges, such as initial appearances, arraignments, detention hearings and the issuance of search warrants, shall continue to take place in the ordinary course, subject to the parties’ established ability to seek continuances or, as allowed by law, the holding of telephonic or videoconference appearances.
  7. The Bankruptcy Court, Clerk’s Office, Probation Office, Pretrial Services Office and all other court services shall remain open pending further order of the court, although the method of providing services may be modified to account for COVID-19 and attendant public health advisories.
  8. This order does not affect grand juries, which are convened by the U.S. Attorney and shall continue to meet as scheduled by his office.

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

In an attempt to ensure the safety of courthouse staff and visitors, the following persons shall not enter any courthouse in the Eastern District of California:

• Persons who have travelled to any of the following countries within the last 14 days:

• China

• Iran

• South Korea

• Europe (Schengen Area): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City

• United Kingdom and Ireland: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland

          (This list may be updated as further guidance is received.)

• Persons who reside or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to one of the countries listed above within the last 14 days;

• Persons who have been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital or health agency;

• Persons who have been diagnosed with, or have had contact with, anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days;

• Persons with fever, cough or shortness of breath.

 

If you have a scheduled appointment or you are otherwise required to appear at one of the courthouses in the Eastern District of California, and you are unable to appear because of the restrictions in General Order 610, please $(document).ready(function(){ //Append news archive section $("#svPortal").append('

'); $("#navStandard ul").append('
  • News Archive
  • '); });