Information Regarding COVID-19 and Court Operations, Restrictions, and Hours of Operation


Effective Monday, June 14, 2021, the Robert T. Matsui and Robert E. Coyle United States Courthouses are open to the public from 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily.

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). 

The Clerk's Office is open to the public from: 

9:00 am - 4:00 pm daily 

Sacramento:

866-884-5525 or 916-930-4000           

Fresno:

866-884-5444 or 559-499-5600    


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 634 - Compliance with CDC Guidance in Eastern District of California Federal Courthouses August 5, 2021.
(Issued 08/05/2021)

This General Order modifies the requirements in General Order No. 633.

Effective immediately at the Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse in Sacramento and the Robert E. Coyle United States Courthouse in Fresno, attorneys, court staff, and other authorized courthouse visitors shall comply with current CDC Guidance in common areas of these Courthouses. As of the date of this order, this means all such persons are required to wear masks or face coverings in common areas of these Courthouses. If CDC and Local Guidance changes, for example to provide that face coverings are no longer required for some or all persons, these Courthouses shall at the time of any change follow the modified CDC and Local Guidance, without further order of this court.

Tenant Agencies shall determine the masking requirements for their employees in their private agency space.

Masking and physical distancing requirements for jurors reporting to the United States Courthouses shall conform to the CDC and Local Guidance in effect at that time unless the judge presiding over the jury proceeding imposes stricter requirements. Masking and physical distancing requirements in individual courtrooms will continue to be determined by the judge presiding in his or her courtroom.

Masking and physical distancing requirements for the Bakersfield, Redding and Yosemite National Park Courthouses will be determined by the judges assigned to these remote Courthouses, taking account of their local circumstances.


General Order 633 - Policy Regarding the Wearing of Face Coverings in Eastern District of California Federal Courthouses July 13, 2021.
(Issued 07/13/2021)

This General Order modifies the requirements in General Order No. 621.

Effective immediately at the Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse in Sacramento and the Robert E. Coyle United States Courthouse in Fresno, attorneys, court staff, agency staff, tenants and other authorized courthouse visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to wear masks or face coverings in common areas of the courthouse, except as provided below. Any persons entering these two courthouses who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are still required to wear masks or face coverings.

Court Security Officers at all United States Courthouses in the Eastern District of California shall continue to confirm a negative response to COVID-19 screening questions, as originally provided in General Order No. 610 and as subsequently modified by CDC Guidance.

Tenant Agencies in all United States Courthouses in the Eastern District of California shall determine the masking requirements for those agencies’ employees in their private agency spaces.

Masking and physical distancing requirements for jurors reporting to any of the United States Courthouses in the Eastern District of California, and during any proceedings in individual courtrooms, will be determined by the judge presiding over the proceeding, including a trial for which jurors are summoned.

Masking and physical distancing requirements for the public areas of the Bakersfield, Redding and Yosemite National Park U.S. Courthouses will be determined by the judge assigned to that courthouse and shall be posted at the front entrance of these courthouses.


General Order 632 - 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 July 1, 2021.
(Issued 07/01/2021)

This General Order extends General Orders No. 614, No. 620, No. 624, No. 628 and No. 630 for another 90 days unless terminated earlier.


General Order 631 - Providing Notice of Planned Reopening of Courthouse on June 14, 2021.
(Issued 05/26/2021)

In light of the best information available to the Judges of the Eastern District of California at this time, on behalf of the Court, [the Chief Judge] hereby issue[s] the following Order superseding the prior General Order 618 issued on May 13, 2020:

1. Effective June 14, 2021, all courthouses of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California will reopen to the public. 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. Effective June 1, 2021, all persons wishing to attend or observe a trial shall be admitted to the common areas of the courthouse, and the Court Security Officers shall direct such persons to the courtroom in which the trial is being held.

3. Until further notice, General Order 621 requiring the wearing of face coverings in all public space and in private agency space where six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained remains in effect.

4. Effective immediately, each Judge will determine whether to hold proceedings over which that Judge presides in person in a courtroom or by telephone or videoconference, in consultation with the Clerk of the Court and U.S. Marshal, as appropriate, to allow for coordination regarding the impact on court and security staff and operations.

5. To the extent any Judge conducts any criminal proceeding by telephone or video conference, General Order 630 implementing the CARES Act remains in effect until July 1, 2021, unless further extended, and continues to authorize the use of telephone or video conference with a defendant’s consent.

6. In criminal cases before the District Judges, the assigned District Judge may exercise his or her authority to continue matters, excluding time under the Speedy Trial Act based on current public health conditions with respect to COVID-19, with findings to support the exclusion in the Judge’s discretion.


General Order 630 - 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 04/02/2021)

This General Order extends General Orders No. 614, No. 620, No. 624 and No. 628.


General Order 628 - 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 01/04/2021)

This General Order extends General Orders No. 614 and No. 620.


General Order 624 - 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 09/30/2020)

Effective immediately, the Chief Judge hereby orders an extension of General Order 620.

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, [the Chief Judge] will review this authorization and determine whether to extend it.


General Order 621 - Requirement to Wear Face Coverings in All Eastern District of California Federal Courthouses.
(Issued 07/28/2020)

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

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in all courthouses of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, face coverings must be worn in all public spaces including common areas, hallways, stairways, elevators, cafeterias, restrooms and parking facilities. Face coverings must also be worn in all private agency space where six feet of physical distancing between persons cannot be maintained.

A face covering is defined as material that covers both the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.

A child under 2 years old; anyone with respiratory issues where it would impede their breathing; anyone unable to remove a face covering without help; and anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that does not allow them to wear a facer covering is exempt from this order.


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)