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SCOW issues additional orders regarding court operations

On May 22, the supreme court issued new orders addressing trial and appellate court operations as the state begins to “re-open” from the restrictions aimed to limit the spread of Covid-19.

If you’re a postconviction and appellate lawyer, read the order concerning appellate court operations and remote proceedings. Of note: (1) the provisions tolling deadlines and discouraging motions have expired; (2) the order allowing email filing of notices of appearance, motions, and responses to motions is continued until further order of the court, as is the temporary mailbox rule for documents other than those that confer jurisdiction; and (3) the order allowing remote hearings in circuit courts is continued until a safety plan is approved by the chief judge in the applicable administrative district.

Trial lawyers should review the order concerning adjournment of jury trials, suspension of deadlines for non-criminal jury trials, and remote hearings. Essentially, a circuit court remains subject to SCOW’s prior orders regarding remote hearings and suspending or delaying jury trials (including in non-criminal cases) until a safety plan is approved by the chief judge of the applicable administrative district. SCOW also directs each circuit court to:

prepare an operational plan for the safe resumption of in-person proceedings and jury trials in that circuit court. The operational plan shall provide specific information about how that circuit court will conduct in-person proceedings and jury trials in a manner that reduces to the greatest extent possible the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 and that promotes the health and safety of all those present in the courtrooms, jury rooms, and other court-related confined spaces of that circuit court.

The operational plan must meet certain requirements, and in developing the plan circuit courts are encouraged to use the recommendations in the court’s Covid-19 Task Force report.

All the court’s previous orders are available on its web page, under the Covid-19 tab.

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