California Judicial Council Issues Emergency Rules in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

The group, which serves as the policymaking body of the California courts, during a Monday teleconference issued 11 new rules to ensure the pandemic doesn't interfere with due process.
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The California Judicial Council during a Monday teleconference issued 11 temporary emergency rules to ensure the pandemic doesn't interfere with due process. 

The actions taken by the group, which serves as the policymaking body of the California courts, include suspending judicial foreclosures and the entry of defaults in eviction cases, allowing courts to require proceedings to be conducted remotely with the defendant's consent, setting a $0 bail for most misdemeanor and low-level felony offenses, extending the time frame for some temporary restraining orders, allowing electronic depositions in civil cases and extending the statute of limitations governing civil actions.

The council reviewed and considered more than 100 written comments before adopting the new rules, according to a Monday announcement, which also included remarks made during the call by council chair Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

“We are at this point truly with no guidance in history, law, or precedent,” she said. “And to say that there is no playbook is a gross understatement of the situation. ... Working with our court stakeholders, I’m confident we can preserve the rule of law and protect the rights of victims, the accused, litigants, families and children, and all who seek justice."

The rules, which are posted below, will remain in effect until 90 days after the governor lifts the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic or until amended or repealed by the council. Previously, on March 28, the council enacted a series of measures to continue essential court services while flattening the curve. (See all emergency actions taken by California courts in response to the pandemic here.)