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COVID-19

Superior Court of California, County of Alameda
 
Updates and Information Regarding Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda (Court) is closely monitoring the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) situation. The Court is in routine communication with the Alameda County Public Health Department, the Alameda County Office of Emergency Services, other Alameda County justice agencies, other California Superior Courts, and the Judicial Council of California. We are working with these and other entities to ensure that we have up-to-date information and can best weigh the need to provide access to justice to our community while also supporting the activities of our public health agencies and the health of the public.

***UPDATE May 20, 2020 *** The Court has issued a Press Release announcing remote “reopening.”

  • May 15, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release announcing that it will resume accepting reservations for and setting hearings on most motions, beginning May 18, and detailing remote appearance options in conservatorships
  • May 7, 2020 The Court has issued a Press Release announces plan to “re-open” civil filings, including new complaints.
  • May 1, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release announcing a new implementation order in response to an emergency order granted by the Chief Justice, and the extension of the Court’s public closure through May 29, 2020.
  • April 29, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release announcing that it has expanded filings and hearings in civil, family, and probate matters, publishes updated FAQ, and prepares to seek additional Emergency Order in anticipation of extending public closure.
  • April 24, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release announcing that it has expanded the types of documents that can be filed by fax, drop box, and mail.
  • April 23, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release detailing the launch of remote public and media access to court proceedings.
  • April 22, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release detailing the enactment of new emergency Local Rule and Local Rule amendments to facilitate the resumption of Court services during the COVID-19 crisis, posts traffic court FAQ and begins accepting some traffic documents via drop box.
  • April 17, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release regarding its offer of relief to litigants in traffic cases, and provides alternatives to litigants in time-not-waived traffic trials. 
  • April 16, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release regarding the resumption of limited hearings in Civil, Family, and Probate matters, issues related Emergency Local Rules and FAQs, permits limited public courthouse access, and orders additional jail releases.
  • April 13, 2020 The Court has issued a Press Release ordering the release of 56 additional persons from the Santa Rita Jail.
  • April 10, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release announcing new Emergency Local Rules, the opening of limited emergency Civil, Family, and Probate fax filing opportunities, and the tentative start of limited emergency hearings the week of April 20, 2020. The Court also orders release of additional persons from Santa Rita Jail.
  • April 8, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release detailing its adoption of the Emergency Bail Schedule as directed by the Judicial Council of California, along with new local form to facilitate remote criminal court appearances.
  • April 3, 2020 - The Court recieved a second Emergency Order from the Chair of the Judicial Council of California and has issued a Press Release regarding its implementation of that Order, its adoption of a new local rule, and its excusal of prospective jurors from service.
  • April 2, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release detailing its extension of the public closure period and requests extension of emergency relief, enacts emergency bail schedule, and extends stay of unlawful detainer actions.
  • April 2, 2020 - The Court has adopted new Local Rule 4.115, Emergency Rule Adopting Temporary Emergency Bail Schedule, to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to the March 23, 2020, Statewide Order of the Chief Justice.
  • March 27, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release regarding its expansion of remote services during the COVID-19 public closure period.
  • March 25, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release regarding the resumption of Self-Help telephone service, two additional Orders, dated March 20, 2020 and March 25, 2020, releasing persons from custody, and the continuance of trials in accord with the March 23, 2020, Statewide Order of the Chief Justice.  
  • March 19, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release regarding the Presiding Judge's General Order releasing 247 persons from the Santa Rita Jail in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Press Release also refers to the new information added below, which details the impact of the current public closures on specific Court divisions and offices.  
  • March 17, 2020 - The Court received an Emergency Order from the Chair of the Judicial Council of California and has issued a Press Release providing additional details regarding services that are impacted pursuant to the authority conferred by that Order.
  • March 16, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release detailing its closure of all courthouses in support of the “Shelter in Place” Orders issued by Bay Area public health officials.
  • March 14, 2020 - The Court has issued a Press Release detailing its plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
 
Information about specific Court divisions and offices

Executive Office

The Court’s Executive Office will be closed to the public. 

Telephone Service

A very limited number of staff will be available across the Court to answer telephones and monitor email accounts.  Please anticipate lengthy wait times for telephone service, and please understand that email responses will be delayed.

Criminal

The March 30, 2020, Statewide Order of the Chief Justice and the Court’s April 2, 2020, Implementation Order authorize the extension of the usual 48-hour adult criminal arraignment standard to 7 days during the Closure Period.

The Court is working with its justice partners to develop in-custody arraignment calendars within the limitations of our COVID-19-related staffing and health and safety constraints. The District Attorney’s Office is continuing to make charging decisions within 48 hours of arrest; thus all arrestees not charged will be released. For those charged with criminal offenses who have not been released prior to arraignment through the pretrial risk assessment pilot, the Court will attempt to conduct in-custody arraignments only (no out-of-custody arraignments), during the closure period in one or more court locations.

These first, test, in-custody arraignment calendars began on Friday, March 20, 2020, and initially took place in two departments at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland (WWM), and two departments at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin (ECHOJ).  Based on the success of these initial arraignment calendars, and with the cooperation of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and their Santa Rita Jail, on Friday, March 27, 2020, the Court conducted a test video arraignment calendar for all misdemeanors countywide in Dept. 105  of WWM. Accordingly, arraignments for South and East County felonies were heard in Dept. 705 of ECHOJ. North and West County felonies were heard in Dept. 702 of ECHOJ. This test video arraignment calendar was successful, accordingly, this arraignment schedule will remain until further notice. 

Given public health directives regarding crowd size and social distancing, and given that our courthouses are currently closed to the public, any arraignments heard pursuant to the above will not be open to the public, and attorneys are invited to participate via telephone or video conference.  (Necessary meeting and call in numbers can be obtained through representatives of the District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Alameda County Bar Association and Court Appointed Attorney Program, and through the specific arraignment departments).

The Court will continue to accept Criminal filings made through the Odyssey E-Filing System.  Court staff will process filings on a priority basis, and as staffing permits; filers should anticipate that there may be delays.  Attorneys and members of the public should be aware that the Court is not currently monitoring the email accounts of its criminal departments not currently in regular operation during this Closure Period.  Emails to these departments will not be addressed; all matters requiring judicial action should be E-Filed, as stated above. 

Additional information about Criminal matters during the public closure period can be found in this Criminal Closure FAQ list.

Criminal Forms & Bail Schedules

Juvenile

The Court is working to develop a detention calendar within the limits of our COVID-19-related staffing and health and safety constraints.  The Court initially plans to attempt to conduct the detention hearings on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

The first in-custody detention calendars will take place on Friday, March 20, 2020, in Department 401 of the Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro.  602 petitions will be heard at 9:00 a.m., while 300 petitions will be heard at 1:30 p.m.

During the closure period, the Court will only accept the following juvenile court documents for filing:

  • 300 and 600 petitions
  • Intake and Detention reports
  • Warrants
  • Any emergency medical request or JV220

Traffic

The Court’s Traffic offices are closed, and there will be no walk-in Traffic court during the public closure period.

All Traffic matters currently set for hearings from April 6, 2020, through May 29, 2020, are currently being reset, and notices will be mailed by the Court.

Effective April 22, 2020, the Court will begin accepting requests to waive time for traffic trials, and requests to appear at traffic trials via remote video appearance, via drop box at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin, Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, and Fremont Hall of Justice. Those requests can also be submitted via email to AskTraffic@alameda.courts.ca.gov.

Additional information about Traffic matters during the public closure period can be found in this Traffic Closure FAQ.

Civil

With the exception of papers relating to appeals and unlawful detainer cases, the Court is now accepting all filings—including case-initiating documents—via mail, drop box, and fax filing. See Emergency Local Rule 1.8a and Local Rule 3.30 for details.

Beginning April 20, 2020, the Court resumed a limited number of Civil hearings regarding emergency matters and matters that were filed and scheduled before the March 17, 2020 Court closure. These hearings will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference. The Court will notify parties or their counsel in cases that are being set for hearing the week before the anticipated hearing date.

Additional information about Civil matters during the public closure period can be found in this Civil, Family and Probate Closure FAQ.

Fax Filing

Premium fax filing service has been suspended during the public closure period.  However, regular fax filing service is available for most Civil, Family, and Probate documents.  Documents received by 3:00 p.m. will be processed within three business days. See Emergency Local Rule 1.8a for details.

Court Records

The Court records office is closed during the public closure period.  Some records may be obtained online by using the Court’s DOMAINWeb portal.

Notwithstanding the above, beginning April 20, 2020, the Court is offering limited public courthouse access for records searches between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (with no access granted after 2:45 p.m.) at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland (RCD). Members of the public who wish access may enter the criminal and civil clerk’s offices of RCD to conduct record searches if they wear a respiratory covering or mask, use their own or Court-provided hand sanitizer, and comply with social distancing directives. Access will be limited to one person in the criminal office and two people in the civil office at any given time; computer use will be limited to 15 minutes per user. Those waiting will be asked to wait outside weapons-screening at 6-foot increments. Failure to follow any of these directives will result in denial of access.

Appeals and Exhibits

The Appeals and Exhibits unit is closed during the public closure period.

Probate

The Court is now accepting all filings except for probate letters with associated bonds via mail, drop box, and fax filing.  Probate letters may be filed only by mail or drop box. See Emergency Local Rule 1.8a for details.

Beginning April 20, 2020, the Court resumed a limited number of Probate hearings regarding emergency matters and matters that were filed and scheduled before the March 17, 2020 Court closure. These hearings will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference. The Court will notify the Petitioner of the hearing date. The Petitioner is required to notify all interested parties of the hearing date and the remote appearance requirement. See Emergency Local Probate Rule 7.180 for details. Interested parties can obtain the Meeting ID number for a particular case by clicking on this link after 5:00 p.m. the week before the date of the hearing.

The Court will continue to accept requests for emergency relief in Probate matters. The Court will accept such requests via fax filing, drop box filing or mail. See Emergency Local Rule 1.8a for details. Drop boxes have been set up at the public entrance to the Berkeley Courthouse in Berkeley for that purpose. Court staff will contact moving parties when their requests have been ruled on. Please be sure to include a contact number and email address on your pleadings.

Additional information about Probate matters during the public closure period can be found in this Civil, Family and Probate Closure FAQ.

Family

The Court is now accepting all filings—including case-initiating documents—via mail, drop box, and fax filing. See Emergency Local Rule 1.8a for details.

Beginning April 20, 2020, the Court resumed a limited number of Family hearings regarding emergency matters and matters that were filed and scheduled before the March 17, 2020 Court closure. These hearings will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference. The Court will notify parties or their counsel in cases that are being set for hearing the week before the anticipated hearing date.

The Court will continue to accept requests for emergency relief and responses in Family Law matters.  In light of the extended court closure and the COVID-19 crisis, the Court will broadly interpret what is deemed 'great or irreparable injury' in considering temporary orders in these requests. The Court will accept such requests and responses to such requests via fax filing, drop box filing or mail. See Emergency Local Rule 1.8a for details. A drop box has been set up at the public entrance to the Hayward Hall of Justice for that purpose. Court staff will contact moving parties when their requests have been ruled on.  Please be sure to include a contact number or email address on your pleadings.

The Court has posted guidelines to clarify the Court’s expectations for those families and parents with current child custody and visitation orders in place during the “shelter-in-place” and public Court closure resulting from the COVID19 crisis. Additional information about Family matters during the public closure period can be found in this Civil, Family and Probate Closure FAQ.

Family Forms

Temporary Restraining Orders

The Court will continue to accept requests for Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs), and requests to renew, modify, withdraw or terminate TROS. The Court will accept such requests via fax filing, drop box filing or mail. See Emergency Local Rule 1.8a for details. Drop boxes have been set up at the public entrance to the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland and the Hayward Hall of Justice for that purpose.

Court staff will contact petitioners by telephone when their TROs have been ruled on and are ready for pick-up, so it is critical that petitioners provide the Court with a contact phone number on their applications. Completed TROs will then be available in a pick-up box located at the public entrance to the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland or the Hayward Hall of Justice.

Beginning the week of May 4, 2020, the Court plans to start conducting a limited number of emergency hearings on requests for temporary restraining orders. See Emergency Local Rule 5.38 for details. These hearings will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference.

Self-Help Center

The Court’s Self-Help Centers are closed for walk-in appointments, and all in-person Self-Help clinics have been suspended during the public closure period.

Self-Help Center staff are available to answer questions and provide assistance via telephone from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The Self-Help Center telephone number is (510) 272-1393. Self-Help Center staff are also available to answer questions and provide assistance via Live Chat service from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. For customers needing additional assistance, individual telephone or video appointments are also available. 

Family Court Services

The Family Court Services office is closed for in-person mediation appointments.

Family Court Services clerical staff are available to answer telephone calls from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The telephone number is (510) 690-2500. Child Custody Recommending Counselors are currently conducting mediation sessions via telephone, and will contact parties to schedule. The Court is also exploring the option of offering mediation sessions by videoconference in the near future.    


Court resources that are available remotely

Although the Court is closed to the public, and the Clerk’s Offices generally are not accepting filings, certain Court services are still available remotely:

 
Information for prospective jurors

All jury trials have been continued, and the Court is not currently summonsing jurors for service.

Prospective jurors with summons dates from April 6, 2020, through May 29, 2020, are not required to report for jury service.  Those jurors will be considered to have satisfied their jury service and will not be summonsed again for at least one year.  

The Court will continue processing mileage and daily payments for jurors who reported prior to March 17, 2020.


Additional questions about the Court’s response to COVID-19 that are not answered above

If you have additional questions about the Court’s response to COVID-19, please email the Court at covid19questions@alameda.courts.ca.gov

 
General Orders regarding COVID-19
 
May 1, 2020 - Implementation Order
April 3, 2020 - Implementation Order
April 2, 2020 - Implementation Order
March 27, 2020 - General Order
March 25, 2020 - General Order
 

Local Rules adopted to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to the March 23, 2020, Statewide Order of the Chief Justice


Local Rules amended to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Local Rule 3.30, Regarding Law and Motion (July 1, 2007; amended May 21, 2020) 


Local Emergency Forms

 

Chief Justice & Chair of the Judicial Council of California resources regarding COVID-19

May 1, 2020 - Emergency Order issued by Chief Justice & Chair of the JCC Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
April 29, 2020 - Statewide Order issued by Chief Justice & Chair of the JCC Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
April 16, 2020 - Circulating Order Memorandum to the Judicial Council, Order Number: CO-20-07
April 16, 2020 - Circulating Order Memorandum to the Judicial Council, Order Number: CO-20-06
April 14, 2020 - Circulating Order Memorandum to the Judicial Council, Order Number: CO-20-05
April 8, 2020 - Circulating Order Memorandum to the Judicial Council, Order Number: CO-20-03
April 8, 2020 - Circulating Order Memorandum to the Judicial Council, Order Number: CO-20-02
April 8, 2020 - Circulating Order Memorandum to the Judicial Council, Order Number: CO-20-01
April 6, 2020 - Temporary Emergency Rules adopted by the Judicial Council of California 
April 3, 2020 - Emergency Order issued by Chief Justice & Chair of the JCC Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
April 2, 2020 - Circulating Order Memorandum to the Judicial Council, Order Number: CO-20-04
March 30, 2020 - Statewide Order issued by Chief Justice & Chair of the JCC Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
March 28, 2020 - Audio of emergency meeting of the Judicial Council of California
March 23, 2020 - Statewide Order issued by Chief Justice & Chair of the JCC Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
March 20, 2020 - Advisory on COVID-19 & Court Operations issued by Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
March 17, 2020 - Emergency Order issued by Chief Justice & Chair of the JCC Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

Additional Court resources regarding COVID-19
 
 
 
 
For more information about COVID-19, please visit the following webpages:
 


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