SOLANO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT ANNOUNCES UPDATED ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 VIRUS
The Solano County Superior Court is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and is in routine communication with the California Judicial Council and Solano County officials.
Authority for Emergency Operations
On March 18, 2020, the Solano County Health Officer issued a shelter in place order effective through April 7, 2020. This order has been extended twice by the Solano County Health Officer and is now effective through May 17, 2020. To promote the health and welfare of citizens, the order directs all individuals living in Solano County to shelter at their place of residence except to provide or receive certain essential services. The order further directs business and governmental agencies to cease non-essential activities and non-essential gatherings.
On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 ordering all individuals in the State of California to stay at home or their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors. Executive Order N-33-20 is in effect until further notice.
On March 17, 30, and April 29, 2020, the Chief Justice granted the Court’s request for an order authorizing emergency operations. The current order authorizes emergency operations through May 28, 2020.
On March 23 and 30, 2020, the Chief Justice issued statewide emergency orders. Provisions of these orders include the delegation of authority to trial courts to establish rules necessary to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to take effect immediately. The Judicial Council issued Emergency Rules 1-13 (adopted April 6, amended April 17 and 20, 2020.) These rules are supplemented by Circulating Orders CO-20-06 and CO-20-07.
Reduction of Operations
Effective March 20, 2020, to focus on public safety, and ensure access to essential court services, the court reduced operations. These orders are extended to May 28, 2020. The Presiding Judge has authorized each court division to implement emergency operations as appropriate for that specific division.
Limited operations are restricted to processing and hearing essential matters that are required to comply with an individual’s constitutional rights, to address exigent requests for emergency relief and/or to protect the health and safety of the public. These operations are as follows:
Filings. Filings in Fairfield and Vallejo courthouses will be accepted via the drop-box. The clerk’s offices will not be open for in-person processing. All filings will be stamped received on the date received. Filings will be prioritized for processing by the clerk’s office pursuant to the criteria and directions of the Presiding Judge and/or Supervising Judges from each division.
Time-Waived Criminal Cases. All-time waived felony and misdemeanor arraignments, hearings, and court appearances in both the Vallejo and Fairfield courthouses are continued 8 weeks from their current date unless the parties are otherwise notified. This shall continue until further order of the Court.
No-Time-Waiver Criminal Cases. All no-time waived felony and misdemeanor hearings and court appearances in both the Vallejo and Fairfield courthouses will be heard in the Fairfield courthouse on the date presently set until further order of the Court.
Jury Trials. By order of the Chief Justice, all jury trials may be continued for 90 days. Jurors who have received summons should follow the reporting instructions for updates regarding your jury service.
Traffic and Infractions. All non-traffic infraction and traffic infraction matters will be continued until further order of the Court. The court will provide notice of the continued hearing date.
Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency. All juvenile delinquency and dependency detentions, arraignments, and other hearings will remain as scheduled unless the parties are notified not to appear or the parties have an approved stipulation or order for continuance.
Emergency Relief, Domestic Violence, Civil Harassment, Elder Abuse. The Court will continue to process requests for Temporary Restraining Orders, including domestic violence, civil harassment and elder abuse orders, and requests for emergency relief in Civil and Probate matters. DVTRO, civil harassment, elder abuse, and gun restraining order hearings currently scheduled will remain as scheduled unless case-specific arrangements are made with the department. Parties are encouraged to appear via CourtCall or to email the Family Law Division at email@example.com to request alternative arrangements to appear by telephone or remotely.
Family Law. Commencing May 4, 2020, and continuing through May 28, 2020, the court will hear a limited number of matters regarding custody and parenting time as currently scheduled. Parties are encouraged to appear via CourtCall or to contact the department to make alternative arrangements to avoid personally appearing. If applicable, parties may be contacted by Family Court Services to attend pre-hearing Child Custody Recommending Counseling (“CCRC”) via phone conference in these matters. Additionally, the court may hear settlement conferences as currently scheduled via Zoom or conference call. Parties and counsel may stipulate to schedule a case management or settlement conference meeting with the assigned judicial officer via Zoom or conference call to be scheduled directly through each department’s judicial assistant; matters assigned to Department 10 will be scheduled on a rotating basis. All other family law matters will be postponed by written notice provided by the court. The court will continue to process requests for emergency family law orders on an ex parte basis for emergencies as defined in California Rules of Court, Rule 5.151. True defaults will not be processed during the period of emergency operations until 10 court days after any period in which the State Health Officer has lifted the order to shelter in place; however, the court will process defaults with an agreement as staff resources are available.
Temporary Guardianships, Probate Conservatorships. Effective May 1, 2020, letters establishing temporary guardianships and temporary probate conservatorships of the person and/or estate are extended 28 days. All hearings related to guardianships and probate conservatorships will be postponed with written notice provided by the court.
LPS Conservatorships. Effective May 1, 2020, LPS conservatorships are extended 28 days until May 28, 2020, unless otherwise specifically ordered. Currently, calendar cases will remain on the calendar and will be heard through remote proceedings via Zoom unless otherwise ordered by the assigned court. Parties and litigants shall ensure the court has current contact information including telephone numbers and email addresses. Please refer to the Standing Order regarding Remote Proceedings for additional information. The court will continue to process LPS writs and ex parts requests for emergency relief. No jury trials will be conducted. All LPS cases have been reassigned to Department 12, the Honorable Christine Carringer.
Probate and Probate Letters of Special Administration. Effective April 3, 2020, letters of special administration establishing special powers in probate matters were extended 60 days. (See MISC 002721 Standing Order re Probate, LPS and Guardianship Matters During Emergency Operations) All probate cases (with the exception of probate conservatorships) will remain on calendar and will be heard through remote proceedings via Zoom unless otherwise specifically ordered by the assigned court. Cases in which required publication has been completed will also remain on calendar in the physical courtroom; however, parties shall appear remotely through Zoom, telephone conference call, or CourtCall. Parties should continue to review the posted pre-grant rulings. The court will continue to process exigent requests for emergency probate orders on an ex parte basis if good cause exists. (See MISC 002721 Amended Standing Order Regarding Probate Matters During Emergency Operations.)
DCSS. All cases involving the Department of Child Support Services (“DCSS”) scheduled between May 4, 2020, and May 28, 2020, will be postponed. DCSS will provide notice of the continued hearing date.
Self-Help Center. The Self-Help Center is not open for in-person assistance. Requests for assistance may be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional self-help resources may be found on the California Judicial Council’s website at www.courts.ca.gov.
Small Claims. Small claims hearings scheduled between May 1 and May 28, 2020, are postponed. The court will notify the plaintiff and any served defendant for whom the court has received contact information of the continued hearing date. Hearings on new small claims filings will not be scheduled to occur during the period of emergency operations. (See MISC 002719 Standing Order Postponing Small Claims Hearings and Trial Setting)
Unlawful detainer. Unlawful detainer cases scheduled between March 20 and May 28, 2020, are postponed. Pursuant to Emergency Rule 1 adopted April 6, 2020, no summons may be issued in any unlawful detainer matter until the rule sunsets or is repealed, unless the case is necessary to protect public health and safety. Parties seeking the issuance of a UD summons on the basis that it is necessary to protect public health and safety may request a screening of the UD complaint by submitting an ex parte application to the Supervising Civil Judge. UD cases in which summons were previously issued and UD trials that were previously continued will not be reset to be heard during the period of emergency operations. The court will provide notice to the parties of any continued motion and trial date. Defaults will not be processed until 10 court days after any period in which the State Health Officer has lifted the order to shelter in place. Pending writs of possession will be processed immediately following termination of the order to shelter in place by the State Health Officer. (See MISC 002718 Amended Standing Order Regarding Unlawful Detainer Trials and Processing of Defaults and Writs of Possession During Emergency Operations; See Emergency Rule 1.)
Civil. Unless otherwise specifically ordered by the assigned department, civil matters scheduled between May 1 and May 28, 2020, will be heard through remote proceedings via Zoom, telephone conference call, or CourtCall. Each department will initiate remote court appearances through Zoom by an emailed appointment to the email address of the attorney of record which will also contain a telephone conference call number. Information on how to access CourtCall is on the main court website. Departments will hear all scheduled case management proceedings and law and motion. Court trials that exceed a 2-hour estimate will be continued but parties should appear at the scheduled Zoom hearing date to reset the trial date. Each department will determine whether a court trial of less than 2 hours may proceed via remote proceedings on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the judicial officer. Please refer to the Standing Order regarding Remote Proceedings for additional information on remote proceedings. Defaults in civil matters will not be processed until 10 court days after any period in which the State Health Officer has lifted the order to shelter in place. Cases in which required publication has been completed will also remain on calendar in the physical courtroom; however, parties shall appear remotely through Zoom, telephone conference call, or CourtCall. Interested persons may continue to appear in the physical courtroom or request to be added to a Zoom remote court appointment by contacting the assigned department or email@example.com. The court will continue to process exigent requests for ex parte relief if good cause exists. (See MISC 002720 Amended Standing Order Regarding Civil Matters During Emergency Operations.)
Public Access to Remote Court Proceedings. Remote Court proceedings are public proceedings. Members of the public, the media, professional journalists, or interested persons may request to be included in a fully virtual remote court proceeding. Such a request should be made at least one day in advance to permit sufficient time to administer the request. Requests to join a remote proceeding should be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested parties may check the court website to view all public calendars to determine which matters are being heard remotely.
Designated Courtrooms. Due to court closures, personnel, and facility needs, hearings may be reassigned to alternative courtrooms. Please consult the electronic bulletin boards and follow any posted notices.
The Court will continue to monitor the evolving situation and will update this notice as circumstances warrant. Any revised orders will be posted on the Court’s website at www.solano.courts.ca.gov.
To ensure accurate notice of continued hearing dates, it is the responsibility of the parties and/or their attorneys to ensure that the court has current contact information including accurate mailing address, email address, and telephone number. Updated contact information may be mailed to each division depending upon the type of case.
View the full notice here.