Seven Riverside County courthouses will remain closed for an additional two weeks, and the remaining six will be open to the public for limited periods each day, as the Superior Court extends its operational reductions in response to the coronavirus emergency.
“Amid growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, and in an effort to comply with federal, state and local guidelines, adhere to the Centers for Disease Control social distancing recommendations and abide by the shelter-in-place regulations, the court will be extending its temporary closures through Friday, April 17,” according to a statement released Wednesday night.
County Superior Court Presiding Judge John Vineyard signed the curtailment order following direction from California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
Under the order, the Banning Justice Center, Riverside Historic Courthouse, Hemet Courthouse, Moreno Valley Traffic & Smalls Claims Court, Palm Springs Courthouse, Riverside Family Law Courthouse and Temecula Courthouse will remain shuttered, while the downtown Riverside Hall of Justice will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., along with the Indio Larson Justice Center, the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, the Blythe Courthouse, the Riverside Juvenile Dependency Court and Southwest Juvenile Court.
Video arraignments, which began Monday, will continue to be utilized to preclude moving defendants from jailhouses to the open courthouses, and hence increasing COVID-19 exposure risks, officials said.
The Superior Court’s web portal will remain available, though the timely updating of information on cases has been impacted.
Last month, the Superior Court implemented a series of policy changes that remain in force, all of which are based on the need to safeguard against coronavirus.
The foremost action was to halt jury trials, which have been suspected for 60 days, beginning March 17. Civil jury trials are suspended until May 25.
Arraignments and gun violence restraining orders are proceeding, as are civil harassment restraining orders and name change petitions.
The same applies to temporary guardianship and conservatorship cases, along with elder abuse, domestic violence restraining orders and some ex-parte applications.
Detention hearings, contested and uncontested jurisdiction hearings and foster care petitions in juvenile court are being conducted.
All traffic court trials have been postponed until further notice, while other traffic hearings are being deferred for 90 days, according to the Superior Court.
Small claims matters will not be heard for 90 days, and unlawful detainer petitions, involving evictions, will not proceed for 60 days, officials said.
Some hearings may be held telephonically, and interested parties who require more information were encouraged to visit www.riverside.courts.ca.gov, or call the court at 951-275-5076, or 760-342-6264.
The District Attorney’s Office has supported the changes, and in response, the agency has reduced staff at the headquarters building on Orange Street in downtown Riverside, as well as offices in Indio, Murrieta, Banning and Blythe.
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