LAKE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT USES TECHNOLOGY TO EXPAND SERVICES IN MAY DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
On March 18, 2020, Lake County Health Officer issued a Shelter in Place Order for Lake County. On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order ordering all Californians to stay at home. As of today, both orders remain in place and are expected to be extended. Additionally, on March 23, 2020, and April 29, 2020, the Chief Justice issued statewide orders extending by 90 days of statutory deadlines to conduct trials. The COVID-19 pandemic continues and it is apparent that the stay at home orders, social distancing, and limits on gatherings which impact the court will remain in place for weeks and, in some form, potentially for months.
The court understands the delicate balance between public safety and the timely administration of justice. Under Government Code Section 68115, the court has received an emergency order from the Chief Justice to extend statutory timeframes for the filing of papers and the conducting of judicial business through May 26, 2020. A copy of this Order will be posted on the court website. The Court has and is acting to implement the Emergency Rules adopted by the Judicial Council on April 4 to extend the time to hear cases and to increase the scope of matters to be heard by remote technology.
While the court provides an essential government service, in an effort to comply with the Health Officer’s Order and to protect court users and staff from the spread of COVID-19, the court will remain closed through May 29, 2020, except for services described herein. Beginning May 4, 2020, the court will continue to handle the following critical emergency matters:
In-custody Criminal Arraignments and Preliminary Hearings without time waivers
Juvenile Detention Hearings
Ex-parte Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
Ex-parte Civil Temporary Restraining Orders, including Civil Harassment, Workplace Violence, Gun Violence, and Elder Abuse
Ex-parte Emergency Petitions for Temporary Conservatorship
Ex-parte Emergency Petitions for Temporary Guardianship
Ex-parte Family Code Temporary Emergency Orders
Ex-parte Emergency Civil Injunction Temporary Restraining Orders
Ex-Parte applications for orders based on stipulation
Remote Court Hearings
In addition, the court is making every effort to use remote technologies to conduct court hearings when possible. In certain cases, as determined to be appropriate, the court is currently acting to hold some criminal and juvenile hearings, such as sentencing and dispositions, by remote appearance. The court will begin holding the following hearings by remote appearance only. All attorneys and parties MUST APPEAR BY PHONE/VIDEO as directed by the court. The court will provide instructions for the remote appearance. Hearing dates for the following calendars will remain as presently set.
Beginning week of May 4, 2020:
Civil Law & Motion, Department 2, Mondays at 9:00 am
Civil Case Management, Department 2, Mondays at 10:30 am
Conservatorships, Department 2, Mondays at 1:30 pm
Probate, Department 2, Mondays at 2:00 pm
Department of Child Support Services Family Support, Clearlake Branch Tuesdays at 9:00 am
Beginning week of May 11, 2020:
Misdemeanor Disposition/Setting and Motions, Department 1, Mondays at 8:15 am and 1:30 pm
Misdemeanor Settlement Conferences, Department 1, Tuesdays at 1:30 pm
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, Department 2, Tuesdays at 8:15 am
Family Law & Motion, Department 2, Tuesdays at 10:00 am
Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency Calendars, Mondays, 8:18 am/1:30 pm, Department 4
Civil Harassment Restraining Order Calendar, Tuesdays, 8:15 am, Department 4
Pursuant to the Order of the Presiding Judge, access to the Fourth Floor of the Courthouse and the Courtrooms is restricted to those persons who are required by law to be present for the court proceeding. The parties, attorneys, and witnesses subpoenaed to testify are permitted to attend unless remote appearance is mandated. Defendants’ presence is not required, nor will it be permitted, on the misdemeanor calendars. No other persons shall be permitted to attend absent a prior order of the court. A copy of the Order is posted on the court website. The Clearlake Branch Courthouse will also be closed.
Trials and Contested Hearings
The court will not be conducting any in-person trials or contested hearings during the closed period from May 2 through May 29. Any trials or hearings currently set to occur during the closed period will be rescheduled by the court to a date after May 29 and notice of the rescheduled date will be mailed to counsel or the self-represented party. This includes small claims, traffic, and unlawful detainer court trials set to occur at the Clearlake Branch Courthouse during the closed period.
Court Clerk’s Offices
The Court Clerk’s Offices will remain closed to the public. Court staff will be available by phone. A drop-box for the emergency matters listed above will be available at both the Lakeport Courthouse (located in the first-floor Lobby) and Clearlake Courthouse (accessed from outside the main door) between 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. Filings will be accepted by mail or drop-box. Any temporary emergency order returned from a judge, will be available for pick up after 4:00 pm. All other filings will require a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope if endorsed copies are desired.
Current Scheduled Court Dates
All regular court calendars, with the exception of those listed above, through May 29 will be rescheduled by the court. Notice of the rescheduled date will be mailed to counsel or the self-represented party.
Temporary Restraining Orders/Temporary Emergency Orders
Any Temporary Restraining Order or Temporary Emergency Order currently in effect and expiring during the closed period shall remain in effect until the next hearing date. In cases in which a contested hearing is required the court will set the hearing for a date after May 29 or, in the event the parties agree to a remote hearing, and a remote hearing is determined appropriate by the court, for the date as may be set by the court for such hearing
The Self-Help Center will be closed to the public. Assistance will be provided by phone and email only. No in-person assistance will be provided.
As the situation is quickly evolving, we will keep the public up to date on our website
View the full notice here.