July 8, 2020 - The 15th District Court has begun the gradual process of resuming public operations, as of Monday, July 6, 2020. In accordance with guidelines published by the Michigan Supreme Court, Ann Arbor's District Court is entering into Phase 3 of a four-phased plan to work toward full operations.
“We want the public to be aware that we are still seeking to limit face-to-face contact at the Justice Center," said Joseph Burke, Chief Judge of the 15th District Court. “We will continue to use Zoom videoconferences for as many Court proceedings as is possible." Until the Courts are fully re-opened, Court proceedings will be livestreamed. Each Court's livestream link can be found on the Court's website at www.15thdistrictcourt.org.
The State Court Administrative Office has set forth the four-phase approach to full resumption of Court operations at full capacity. Michigan Courts approved for Phase 3 operations will resume limited public operations. Anyone entering the building will be required to answer several screening questions pertaining to their recent health, to wear a mask covering their mouth and nose, and to respect social distancing requirements. The public capacity of courtrooms will be substantially limited. No more than 10 members of the public can be present in any courtroom. Elevators will be operational but are limited to not more than three passengers at any time. The Clerk's office will be open for in-person business, again subject to social distancing. In order to minimize exposure, parties are encouraged to drop off most pleadings and papers in drop boxes provided in the lobby on the first floor.
The 15th District Court is planning to resume criminal jury trials in the month of August. The number of potential jurors called in for jury selection will be limited as the Court only intends to seat one jury panel per jury selection date. Juror seating areas will be expanded to allow jurors to remain at least 6 feet from one another during the entire process.
“We are all looking forward to the end of this pandemic," said Burke. “We are fortunate that our Supreme Court has equipped us with the necessary technological and other support necessary to continue to operate remotely. If we all respect and adhere to the guidelines from the SCAO and the CDC, it will hasten the day that we resume our normal lives."
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