California Courts NewsLinks Digest

California halts tenant evictions statewide, court governing body rules

San Francisco Chronicle

Ten days after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a halt to evictions of tenants unable to pay rent because of the coronavirus, state judicial leaders went a step further Monday and barred courts from enforcing any eviction orders against renters.

In uncharted territory, California court leaders OK urgent new rules for coronavirus

Los Angeles Times

During a meeting held by telephone, the Judicial Council, the policy-making arm of the state court system, directed judges to set bail at zero in misdemeanor and low-level felony cases and to postpone proceedings that could result in evictions or foreclosures.

California Court Administrator Works to Keep Justice Rolling During Pandemic

Courthouse News Service

At its second emergency meeting since a viral epidemic upended court operations across the state, California’s Judicial Council approved another set of emergency rules to help courts navigate the health crisis.

California courts leaders approve $0 bail for low-level suspects. Will it be signed?

Sacramento Bee

Cantil-Sakauye on Monday stressed the emergency measures were temporary but were needed to flatten the curve and stem the spread of the coronavirus in cell blocks and in courtrooms as the courts navigate public health and justice in the middle of a global pandemic.

Judicial Council OKs new emergency rules

Daily Journal

(Subscription required) The Council said courts can mandate remote proceedings but specified criminal defendants must consent, which drew criticism from prosecutors, including Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who called for a statewide mandate “to create uniformity and consistency across all courts in California while also protecting the health and safety of all court users.”

California court leaders suspend evictions amid pandemic

Associated Press

California judicial leaders on Monday adopted a statewide emergency order suspending evictions to help deal with the COVID-19 crisis that has crippled the court system. It was one of eleven temporary rules adopted by the state’s Judicial Council during a second emergency meeting since the coronavirus pandemic started.

California Makes Major Bail Change To Slow the Spread of Coronavirus In The Jails

The Appeal

The California Judicial Council on Monday issued a statewide emergency order setting bail at $0 for most misdemeanor and lower-level felony offenses. The sweeping measure is the state’s latest effort to empty its jails to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

State courts temporarily wave bail for low-level offenses as part of COVID-19 response

The Mercury News

The new bail standard will go into effect April 13, and will be in effect for 90 days after the end of the state of emergency declared by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the council decided during a conference call. It was Newsom who granted the Judicial Council emergency powers to keep the state’s courts in operation through the pandemic.

Coronavirus: State Judicial Council Votes To Set Bail At Zero For Most Misdemeanor and Lower-Level Felonies

CBS Los Angeles

The California Judicial Council moved Monday to set bail at zero for most misdemeanor and lower-level felonies in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus by limiting the number of inmates in jails.

California Judicial Council OKs suspending eviction, foreclosure proceedings, zero bail for misdemeanors

The Union

The California Judicial Council approved new rules Monday for the state’s courtrooms that include eliminating bail for defendants charged with misdemeanors and most nonviolent felonies, and suspending judicial eviction and home foreclosure proceedings.

In move to combat coronavirus spread, California judicial bosses order zero bail for low-level crimes

Daily News

The bail measure was one of 11 emergency orders issued by the council Monday as the state staggers under the global COVID-19 pandemic. Included among the orders was the increased use of remote hearings.

California Sets Zero Bail for Many Offenses

NBC Palm Springs

To limit the spread of the coronavirus in jails statewide by limiting the number of inmates, California’s Judicial Council moved Monday to set bail at zero for most misdemeanor and lower-level felonies.

California State Courts To Follow New Temporary Rules


The California state courts now have to follow new temporary emergency rules. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the California Judicial Council approved 11 temporary emergency rules yesterday. Some of the rules include reducing bail to zero dollars in misdemeanor and lower-level felony cases, suspending default judgments in most cases of tenants who can’t pay rent and halting most court-ordered foreclosures for unpaid mortgages.

California Judicial Council puts temporary ban on residential evictions

FOX 40

“Meaning that landlords can still file an eviction case but the tenant's ticking timebomb of losing their home if they do get to the courthouse and file papers within five days is now put on pause,” said Sasha Harnden, who is a policy advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

San Diego Courts Deploy Tech to Conduct Some Business Now

San Diego Union-Tribune

The San Diego Superior Court has taken a step toward conducting proceedings during the COVID-19 crisis, holding a six-minute hearing via a video hookup that allowed lawyers seated at their office desks blocks away to participate.

Sheriff: Up to 40 Tuolumne County jail inmates to be released by April 13

The Union Democrat

Tuolumne County Sheriff Bill Pooley announced on Tuesday that his office will be releasing up to 40 pre-trial inmates by April 13 after the judicial body overseeing California’s state courts voted on Monday to temporarily eliminate bail for people charged with low-level offenses.

Public Defenders Ask CA Chief Justice For Help To Get Kids Out of Lock-Up During COVID-19.


When it was clear that the COVID-19 crisis was going to explode in the U.S., the push in California and in several other states to find a way to reduce the state’s jail and prison populations began to ramp up in earnest.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey Responds to Judicial Council’s Decision to Set Zero Bail Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Los Angeles Sentinel

“I applaud the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council for adopting a statewide zero bail for people charged with most misdemeanors and low-level felonies,” District Attorney Lacey said. “In Los Angeles County, we implemented a zero-bail measure last week that allows us to further reduce the number of people in county jails and courthouses. I appreciate the collaboration among criminal justice leaders in Los Angeles County that has resulted in the rapid deployment of new and innovative approaches as we work to try to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Supreme Court allows broad access to excess insurance for DDT polluter

At the Lectern

In Montrose Chemical Corporation of California v. Superior Court, the Supreme Court today expands a company’s options in tapping its excess insurance policies to cover liability it incurred for DDT environmental contamination decades ago. The case involves over 115 excess policies, issued by 40 insurance carriers over a nearly quarter-century period, that are expected to cover nine-figure past and future costs.

Opinion: Gov. Newsom's dilemma: More prisoner releases needed in coronavirus crisis

San Francisco Chronicle

The COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly infected fewer than a dozen men among California’s 122,000 state prison inmates. These cases, all in Southern California, represent a remarkably low number, which is bound to grow dramatically very soon, when the prison system begins to do more testing.

Transitioning Into the Electronic Court System

Davis Vanguard

As of April 1, the Sacramento Superior Court began live-streaming some criminal court proceedings through the live stream application, Zoom. The San Francisco Superior Court will also begin live streaming some proceedings. These decisions come after several published statements on the court’s websites declaring court closures until mid-April.

Alameda County court closure extended through at least May 1

Pleasanton Weekly

Alameda County Superior Court officials said on Thursday that they've extended the closure of most of the county's courts through May 1 because of the decision by health officials earlier in the week to extend shelter-in-place rules until May 3.

Santa Clara County Superior Court adds a new commissioner

Daily Journal

(Subscription required) Rebeca M. Esquival-Pedroza was sworn in Monday afternoon as a Santa Clara County Superior Court commissioner after judges appointed the longtime family court facilitator's office attorney to the job.

National bar exam materials will be available in September

Daily Journal

(Subscription required) States may choose mid- or late-September to hold a postponed July bar exam, the National Conference of Bar Examiners announced. But California’s Committee of Bar Examiners has not announced a decision about holding or postponing the July exam.