Trial dates extended as COVID-19 increases

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Trials for Los Angeles County courts will see another extension due to COVID-19, according to an order issued by the presiding judge of the county court system.

Some criminal trials may start in September, but all civil non-jury trials may not begin until Nov. 16 and all civil jury trials will be continued to January 2021.

Some tenant and landlord disputes may begin on or after Oct. 5, as long as social distancing protocols are followed, the order from Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile said.

“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has expressed concerns to the
court about commencing jury trials and bringing jurors into county courthouses given
the current COVID-19 numbers and trends,” Brazile said in a prepared statement. “The court cannot mandate remote appearances in criminal proceedings because emergency California Rules of Court Rules 3 and 5 for the most part authorize remote proceedings only where the defendant consents.”

The limitations caused by COVID-19 also create evidentiary and logistical issues, making it so the court cannot mandate remote appearances for them, either.

“All non-jury trials, except small claims and traffic trials, unless statutorily required
otherwise, including in general civil, criminal, mental health and probate
scheduled from Aug. 10, 2020, to Sept. 8, 2020, inclusive, are continued until
further notice,” said a release about the order. “Civil non-jury trials shall not be set to commence before Nov. 16, 2020, except small claims and traffic trials, which resumed today.”

Family law evidentiary proceedings are allowed to take place, if they can occur within two court days and do not begin before Nov. 20.

Prescheduled appointments are required for in-person services from the Clerk’s Office, court support services and/or the self-help centers, according to officials.

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