May 30, 2020
MASKS REQUIRED IN COURT BUILDINGS EFFECTIVE JUNE 8
Read Chief Judge Bonner’s newest message
Twelfth Circuit Chief Judge Kimberly C. Bonner issued two new administrative orders as part of the Court’s continued response to COVID-19 and our phased revamp to full operations. We’re in Phase 1 now, which means all hearings except emergency hearings are conducted by video and phone conferencing.
In order to move to Phase 2, a time when limited in-person contact will be allowed in court proceedings, protective measures will still be required. According to the Supreme Court’s order AOSC20-23, Amendment 2, we will be able to move to Phase 2 when:
- There have been no COVID-19 cases in the courthouse within 14 days or there has been a deep cleaning if such cases have occurred;
- Local and state orders permit the activity;
- The community shows at least 14 days of improvements in COVID-19 case reporting;
- Adequate testing programs are in place; and
- We have consulted with other building occupants and justice system partners (State Attorney, Public Defender, law enforcement, and other agencies such as Department of Children and Families).
Beginning June 8, local AO2020-12.02 requires that anyone who enters a court building – including judges – must wear a facemask in all public areas. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own facemask to wear in court. If you arrive without a facemask, we’ll give you a disposable one before you enter the building.
We’ll continue the practice of keeping six-feet of distance between everyone – in lines, in courtrooms and in elevators. Only three people will be allowed in an elevator at any time.
We’ll also continue to clean and sanitize all public areas giving special attention to elevator buttons, door handles and hand rails.
Beginning June 15, anyone who enters a court building will have their temperature checked and asked a series of questions related to COVID-19 exposure. If you have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher or you answer “yes” to any question you will not be allowed into the building and your case will be rescheduled. The court will not issue a bench warrant for failing to appear for your hearing if you were turned away due to the screening process.
Judge Bonner also issued AO2020-13.01, which suspends civil jury trials through September 18, 2020.