Federal courts in California will continue to halt jury trials and in-person proceedings through January in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The Central District of California announced Wednesday that it has extended its suspension of most proceedings, permitting only essential court functions until Jan. 29.

The emergency halt to California court proceedings went into effect Dec. 9, and the plan is for it to continue as long as coronavirus cases in the state continue to be on the rise. Criminal matters will be conducted remotely with defendants’ consent, and civil matters will continue by phone or video proceedings.

“All criminal document duty will be handled by each division in the normal course of business,” district court executive Kiry K. Gray said in a statement. “In other criminal matters, all appearances will be by telephone or video conference.”

Members of the media and the public are permitted to listen to hearings by looking up the judge’s calendar, procedures and schedules for log-in or call-in information.

The transfer of chamber copies will also be contact-free, with judges in the Central District allowing for delivery via FedEx. Documents won’t be accepted at courthouses.

The Southern District has also halted their court hearings through Jan. 22, according to an order signed by Judge Larry A. Burns. Cases between Jan. 8 and Jan. 22 will be rescheduled for video conference by their assigned judges.

The Northern District has suspended hearings until Feb. 1 and the Eastern District remains closed until further notice, Clerk of the Court Kenneth Holland said in a statement.

© The Regents of the University of California, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited