The El Paso County courthouse is closed to the public through April 10, except for “matters of most immediate concern.”
Fourth Judicial District Judge William Bain issued new restrictions after further guidance from health officials to help stem the spread of COVID-19, according to an order that went into effect Friday.
All trials during the closure period are postponed, except for those involving speedy trial deadlines on or before April 17.
All in-person civil hearings, including trials, are also vacated and will be rescheduled.
Jury summonses with a return date of Friday through March 27 are lifted. Jurors with a summons return date on or after March 30 should monitor the court website — courts.state.co.us/Courts/County/Index.cfm?County_ID=6 — for information.
Other highlights of the closure:
— The Clerk’s Office will be open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for legal holidays. During operating hours, the clerk’s office will only accept paper filings related to certain public safety matters, including petitions for restraining orders and emergency custody changes. All other filings should be mailed to courthouse or filed electronically through the state filing system.
— All in-person domestic relations hearings are canceled, except emergency motions to restrict parenting time and motions for abduction-prevention measures.
— Most out-of-custody defendants are prohibited from entering the courthouse during closure, except for certain crimes and certain hearings. In-person appearances are required for those charged with domestic violence, unlawful sexual contact, animal cruelty, driving under the influence and careless driving resulting in injury or death.
— Out-of-custody defendants must also appear for initial appearances after bonding out of jail; bonded advisements; first appearances for the filing of charges for those who do not have an attorney; and any trials where the speedy trial period expires on or before April 17.
— Defendants whose hearings have been vacated are responsible for contacting their attorney or the court clerk in their division to schedule new dates. Defendants may contact clerks by sending an email to the court at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— All county court dates (divisions A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K), including criminal and civil matters, are vacated during closure period, except those relating to domestic violence, unlawful sexual contact, animal cruelty, driving under the influence and careless driving resulting in injury or death.
— Problem-solving courts, including veterans trauma and mental health courts, are suspended.
The Probation Office is conducting all business by phone and will provide instructions to people on probation.
The order does not affect defendants who are in custody, except if they are scheduled for trials where speedy trial clock isn’t a factor.
Also excluded from the order are any emergency orders regarding juvenile cases issued by Judge Lin Billings Vela and emergency orders regarding probate cases issued by Magistrate Vincent Rahaman.
Other exceptions may apply. Those with questions should contact their attorney or visit the court’s website for further details.
The closure will be posted on the doors of the combined courthouse, officially named the Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex, 270 S. Tejon St.