Courts Re-Open Under New Guidelines


County and city court is back in session and judges have returned to their chambers. However, a lot of court matters like pre-trial conferences, arraignments, depositions and non-jury trials are being held electronically and virtually.

“We’re accepting electronic filings of new cases by e-filing. There’s still no in-person filing at the courthouse for supreme court.” Family court is taking in person filing —Hon. Bernadette Clark, Supreme Court Justice

For court matters where the defendant needs to be present like hearings, pleas and sentencing, the courts are now allowing those in person proceedings.

“They would have to go through security. They are going to be screened to determine whether or not they’re possibly positive for the Coronavirus.”—Scott McNamara, Oneida County District Attorney

In addition, the courts will be making changes to their calendar.

“Say for example, court calendar for county court was 9:30 a.m. Everybody was scheduled at 9:30, now they’re spreading those times out.” —McNamara

The court rooms will be cleaned between people coming in and out. People will be required to wear a mask.

As for jury trials, there has not been a decision on how that will work. Meanwhile, grand jury has been delayed until June 15, 2020.

“That’s a constitutional right to a jury trial so that’s a very important piece and the jury deliberation rooms are very tiny.”—Clark

Administrative judge, Jim Murphy has been touring the court houses to figure out logistics in order to maintain social distancing.

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