SAN FRANCISCO—The Judicial Council voted to end remaining temporary emergency rules it approved to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 30, the council will sunset emergency rules still in effect, which include rules relating to:
- Remote appearances and personal appearance waivers by criminal defendants
- Priority for certain juvenile proceedings
- Temporary restraining or protective order renewals
- Deadlines to file a civil action or bring a civil case to trial
- Changes to support orders
The decision to sunset the remaining emergency rules comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent rollback of executive orders related to the state’s pandemic response and in response to the courts’ increasing ability to accommodate the changes resulting from the pandemic.
In addition, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye also rescinded, effective April 30, her remaining statewide emergency measures established to address pandemic-related challenges to court operations.
“The emergency rules were always meant to be temporary and just one of several judicial branch efforts to respond to the pandemic,” said Justice Marsha Slough, chair of the council’s Executive and Planning Committee. “Sunsetting the rules aligns with the recent actions taken by the Governor and Chief Justice, and a shift toward a post-pandemic world. It’s time to move forward.” Watch
Proposed Legislation to Authorize Remote Proceedings in Criminal Cases
The council voted to sponsor legislation that would allow remote criminal proceedings to continue and expand a defendant’s right to waive their appearance and appear remotely or for counsel to appear on their behalf. The legislation would allow courts to continue these efficiencies authorized under temporary emergency rules, which will sunset on June 30.
Other items on the March 11 council meeting agenda included:
Modernizing Court Operations: The council received a report on how $25 million from this year’s state budget continues to modernize trial court operations by supporting the expansion of voice-to-text translation in clerks and self-help offices, electronic filing, hearing reminders, access to court records, and other technology services. In addition to branchwide programs, the funding supports 95 local court projects to modernize court operations. Watch
New Data Analytics Committee: The council established the Data Analytics Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the council in the areas of judicial branch data and information strategy. The workgroup will analyze and share data to better inform judicial branch decision making and enhance public access to court data and information. Watch
Update from Post-Pandemic Workgroup: The Chief Justice’s Ad Hoc Workgroup on Post-Pandemic Initiatives provided an update on the group’s progress in examining successful court practices adopted during the pandemic. The workgroup plans to ask advisory committee groups to consider actions concerning increasing the use of settlement conferences in unlawful detainer cases, virtual visitation in family law cases, and remote access between defense attorneys and in-custody defendants. Watch
The complete meeting agenda and council reports are posted to the California Courts Meeting Information Center. An archived webcast of the entire meeting broken out by topic will be added to the center as soon as it is available.