Courtroom Guidance Comes Through Collaboration

Courtroom Guidance Comes Through Collaboration

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Judges in the 5th Judicial District wasted no time in collaborating on the development of courtroom guidelines in anticipation of loosening of the State’s Directed Health Measures within their respective courtrooms.

Their final protocol list, handwritten and transcribed by Judge Tina Marroquin, includes topics relating to courthouse signage, questions to be asked by security, mask-wearing, and physical distancing requirements. In-courtroom requirements address exhibits, disinfecting counsel tables, and the number of people allowed in the room.  General guidelines address continuing teleconferencing/video conferencing when possible, submitting work in writing, limiting in-person hearings, and videoconferencing with prisoners.

Judges C. Jo Petersen and James Stecker began by developing guidelines for Seward County.  Judges Peterson and Marroquin collaborated to adapt the protocol for Butler County (a courthouse with a shared county and district court courtroom) before the process expanded throughout the district.

The 5th Judicial District judges are satisfied with their joint efforts and happy to share with judges throughout the state.

Read: COURT PROCEEDING PROTOCOL FOR COVID-19 (Saunders, Colfax, Butler)

Additional Resource from the National Center for State Court: Considerations in Resuming Court Operations