DC Superior Court Adds New Remote Courtrooms, Increases Number and Types of Cases Being Heard

DC Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin issued an order on June 19, 2020, regarding operations of the court through August 14, in light of the pandemic.

The Court announced that it will increase the number of courtrooms operating (almost all fully remotely) from 24 to 37 on June 30. The Court's goal is to have 57 courtrooms operating remotely by the end of July.

"While the pandemic still affects us all, I am pleased that we have been able to increase the number of remote courtrooms operating at DC Superior Court from 8 originally to 37 by the end of June, so that parties will have the opportunity to have additional hearings in their matters and the court can expand the types of cases that are being heard," said Chief Judge Robert Morin. "Judges and staff at Superior Court are committed to moving matters forward as quickly as possible while keeping the parties and counsel safe. We are pleased that our self-help and resource centers remain open, and that we have staff available by phone, email and in many divisions through Live Chat features on our website, to help those without an attorney."

As of June 19, the following types of cases will be heard remotely:

CIVIL - The Civil Division will conduct remote hearings, including evidentiary hearings and bench trials, in any civil case where it is appropriate, including in some limited landlord and tenant matters not involving non-payment of rent, some foreclosure matters not involving owner-occupied residential homes, and small claims proceedings not subject to a statutory stay.

CRIMINAL - The Criminal Division will be hearing adult arraignments and presentments; bond reviews; mental health observations & competency hearings; mental health evidentiary hearings; detained preliminary hearings; detained status hearings (set out of C-10 after 3/17 at the request of counsel); and non-evidentiary hearings in other criminal cases.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - The Domestic Violence Division will be hearing requests for temporary and civil protection orders, and extreme risk protection orders, as well as domestic violence misdemeanor cases and non-evidentiary matters in release cases. Consent civil protection order agreements submitted to the Court, or facilitated by an attorney negotiator, will be set for a remote consent hearing. NOTE that the Court's 6/19 order provides that existing CPOs expire either on the expiration date in the order or June 19, 2020, whichever is later, unless a Motion to Extend is filed.

FAMILY COURT - The Family Court will be hearing adoption, divorce, custody, Family Treatment Court, neglect, mental health, mental habilitation and juvenile matters. The Marriage Bureau is operating remotely as well.

PROBATE - The Probate Division will be hearing interventions (cases seeking appointment of a 21-day emergency healthcare guardian, 90-day healthcare guardian, and permanent guardian and/or conservator) and other probate matters, including those estate cases the assigned judge determines are appropriate to be heard remotely.

TAX - The Tax Division will be holding show cause and initial scheduling hearings, as well as pre-trial conferences.

For more information, see the June 19 order on www.dccourts.gov/coronavirus.