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Update, March 19: Courts Respond to Coronavirus

In light of the national emergency due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), courts at every level of Government have restricted operations and public appearances.

FEDERAL

  • The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals continues to hold oral arguments. Parties must file a motion to request argument by telephone conference. The majority of the Clerk’s Office is working remotely and most communications require leaving a voicemail with the Clerk’s Office. Normal 3-day extensions are suspended until the Clerk’s Office resumes normal operations. The filing of paper copies of briefs and appendices is deferred until further notice. The due dates for filing notice of appeal, petition for review, or other document to confer jurisdiction to the Third Circuit remain in place. Other documents are deemed timely filed if received within 3 days of the current deadline without the need to file a motion unless specifically advised by the court.
  • The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has reduced the office hours for the Clerk’s Office to 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 1:00-3:00 p.m. Dropboxes are open until 6:00 p.m. in Trenton and Camden, 7:00 p.m. in Newark.
  • All federal U.S. Courthouses are prohibiting entry by visitors who (1) have been diagnosed with, or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with, COVID-19, (2) have been advised to self-quarantine by a doctor, hospital or health agency;or (3) reside or have been in close contact with someone who has been in close contact with someone who has been advised to self-quarantine. People who have court appearances or appointments with agencies such as Pre-Trial Services or Probation located in U,.S. Courthouses should contact their attorney, the agency, or the Court Clerk’s office.
  • Under Standing Order 20-02, all federal jury trials, civil and criminal, scheduled to begin before April 30, 2020, have been continued (postponed) indefinitely. Other court proceedings may occur at the discretion of the individual trial judge. The period or March 16 to April 30, 2020, shall be “excluded time” for purposes of the Speedy Trial Act, Litigants, including criminal defendants, who seek relief from these provisions, such as a speedy trial, must apply for relief, which is subject to the decision of the Chief Judge of the District in consultation with the trial judge. Trial judges are encouraged to maximize use of telephonic and video conferencing.
  • Under Standing Order 20-03, in all federal criminal matters, the time period from March 16 to April 30, 2020, shall be “excluded time” for purposes of the Speedy Trial Act, including matters commenced by Complaint and not yet indicted. Hard copy “courtesy copies” of electronic filings shall not be sent to chambers in criminal matters. In civil matters, individual trial judges have the discretion to decide whether to require courtesy copies.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

  • Until further notice, there are no in-person Superior Court proceedings (except for extremely limited emergent matters and certain ongoing trials). As many matters as possible (including case management conferences, motions, and hearings) will be handled by telephone or video conference.
  • Initial hearings for involuntary commitment of adults scheduled until March 27, 2020, are adjourned for not more than 14 days, and those for children for not more than 7 days.
  • All Grand Jury and State Grand Jury empanelment dates through March 27, 2020, are postponed until after March 27. Notices rescheduling empanelment dates will be issued. All current Grand Jury and State Grand Jury sessions are cancelled.
  • In Civil matters, the provisions of Rules 4:24-l(a), 4:24-l(c), 4:46-1, and 4:36-3 are relaxed and supplemented to permit the extension of discovery deadlines.
  • In Family matters, the provisions of Rule 5:5-l(e) are relaxed and supplemented to permit the extension of discovery deadlines.
  • In the computation of time periods under the Rules of Court and under any statute of limitations for matters in all courts, for purposes of filing deadlines, March 16 through March 27, 2020, shall be deemed the same as a legal holiday.

MUNICIPAL COURTS

  • All Municipal court sessions are postponed at least through March 30. Filings and payments may still be accepted if the municipal building is open.
  • The “undue hardship” requirement for plea by mail has been suspended. Please by mail forms will be accepted and considered without the “undue hardship” section being completed.
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