Restrictions on Court Access and Procedures in Colorado Due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted by Nathaniel Routh on Apr 14, 2020 10:01:00 AM

The rise of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has thrust us into unprecedented times in just about every aspect of life and, Colorado-Court-Update---Covidnow that the Stay At Home Order for Colorado has been extended until at least April 26, it seems that we still have a long way to go until we regain some sense of normalcy.

Although Governor Polis has ordered a temporary pause on all non-essential activities in the state, that certainly doesn’t mean that legal issues demanding your immediate attention won’t arise in the meantime. Luckily, the court systems in the counties dotting the Front Range are still permitting some, although limited, access to their buildings and resources during this time period.

In an Order dated March 16, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Colorado extended his March 16 Order suspending jury calls through May 15, 2020. The Order terminated all jury calls in state courts, with the exception of jury calls for criminal trials facing imminent speedy trial deadlines, and required that only classes of matters or operations essential to public safety not be suspended, which included protection orders, proceedings to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants, petitions for guardianship/conservatorship, and mental health proceedings.

Further, the Colorado Court of Appeals has released a statement that it will try to maintain normal operations to the fullest extent possible during the outbreak, but requests that anyone who is experiencing respiratory illness symptoms, has been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or has been diagnosed themselves but has not had a subsequent test to confirm they are virus-free, please not come to the Ralph Carr Judicial Center.

The various District Courts in Denver, Weld, Boulder, Adams, Broomfield, Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties have also released their own orders reducing operations and limiting access. Although the 2nd Judicial District Court in Denver County has allowed in person civil proceedings to be heard by phone or teleconference technology through May 15, most other District Courts have only allowed the hearing of criminal matters or matters essential to public safety to be heard under COVID-adapted procedures.

Despite this, non-essential filings may still be made through the E-Filing System located on Lexis Nexis File & Serve, which a licensed attorney may access and file for you; but, the review of these non-essential filings have been pushed to the back-burner and a response may not be received until well into May, or longer.

Due to the ever-evolving nature of this crisis, all of the Orders are subject to modification and extension and, thus, it is strongly encouraged that you regularly check the Colorado Judicial Branch page dedicated to COVID-19 updates to make sure that you are following the most recent policies on openings/closings of the various court systems within Colorado.

For up to date analysis or answers to your legal questions, call us at 720-907-7897 for a consultation.

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