Measures Vary as Federal Courts React to Coronavirus
March 25, 2020
The Supreme Court’s decision to postpone oral arguments made the biggest splash, but the 94 federal district courts and 13 circuit courts of appeal are also taking measures to deal with the coronavirus crisis. In the Northern District of Ohio nothing much has changed. A notice on the district’s website says visitors entering courthouses must inform a security guard if they have flu symptoms. Guards have the option of denying access, and masks are provided for those allowed inside. In the Southern District of New York all criminal trials scheduled up to April 27 have been postponed. Trials that are underway will continue. Judges can hold hearings and status conferences at their own discretion, but they’ve been encouraged to do so by phone or video conference. Courts in the Western District of Washington, which includes Seattle, have postponed all civil and criminal matters that require an appearance in court. Judges can still resolve written motions that don’t require oral argument.
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