Courthouse Closed Again

The El Paso County Courthouse was closed for two weeks because a court reporter tested positive for COVID-19.

The Pikes Peak region’s chief judge announced Tuesday that jury trials are expected to resume in mid-February after a three-month hiatus.

Criminal jury trials at the El Paso and Teller County courthouses are to resume Feb. 19, for both District Court and county court cases. Civil and juvenile cases in both court systems will resume at both courthouses March 8.

Fourth Judicial District Chief Judge Will Bain announced the new jury trial schedules in an order that otherwise extended limited court operations in Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek because of the continuing threat from COVID-19. 

Most hearings will continue to be held by phone or Webex, the state’s virtual court system. In-person proceedings and filings will be permitted for certain public safety matters, including petitions for protective orders and emergency child custody actions and some proceedings for young people accused of crimes. The courts will also require appearances for contested evidentiary hearings and sentencing hearings where a prison sentence is among the options for the court.

The courthouses are otherwise closed to the public. The clerk’s offices in Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek are open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, for approved public safety issues. People with questions should contact their attorneys or the clerks in the divisions to which their cases are assigned, according to the order.

Excluded from the trial ban is the case against Marco Garcia-Bravo, who has been on trial since mid-September charged with double murder in the March 2017 gang killings of Coronado High School students Natalie Cano-Partida, 16, and Derek Greer, 15. Prosecutors said in court Tuesday they expect to close their case Wednesday, leading to up to six days of testimony by the defense.

The judicial district's trial ban has been in place since late November, corresponding with a surge in coronavirus infections in the Pikes Peak region. Before then, trials had been held on a limited basis, with public health precautions, for several months after the lifting of a statewide trial ban announced after the onset of the pandemic.

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