SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — All Orange County Superior Court system courthouses were closed Monday to the public and attorneys for an indefinite period amid the coronavirus outbreak.
"California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has issued an emergency order permitting the closing the Court's facilities to the public, at least until March 30," the O.C. Superior Court said in a statement Friday.
This comes after several criminal cases were held at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana this past Thursday, prompting criticism.
Numerous defense attorneys were told Wednesday evening that they and their clients had to appear at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana to have their cases rescheduled while the courthouses are closed in Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Orange, Fullerton and Westminster.
Friday's hearings in the Central Justice Center were an improvement over Thursday because officials did more to reduce crowds in hallways and courtrooms, Orange County Public Defender Sharon Petrosino said.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court system is partially open for what are deemed "essential and emergency" functions. All civil and criminal jury and non-jury trials are suspended. Jury duty is suspended as well through the week of April 6.
A planned three-day closure begins Monday at L.A. County's Sylmar Courthouse, which handles juvenile cases.The closure was ordered Sunday by Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile after a deputy public defender assigned to the courthouse tested positive for the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, all federal courthouses for the Central District of California are closed to the public through May 1 except for hearings on criminal duty matters.
In federal civil cases, no hearings will go forward except for emergency time-sensitive matters, such as requests for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.
Any hearings on emergency civil matters will proceed by telephone only.
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