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Civil Jury Trial Protocols – Orange County Superior Court

Orange County Superior Court opened for in-person Civil jury trails September 1, 2020. The Court has adopted the following safety protocols.

Answering ready for trial

  • Trial calls are remotely conducted
  • Cases will answer ready for trial pursuant to the Process to Commence Civil Jury Trial published on August 20, 2020
  • There are limited number of courtrooms for Civil jury trials to allow for social distancing

Courthouse Access and Safety

  • Everyone MUST wear a face covering at all times inside the courthouses
    • Masks will be provided for those without one
  • Everyone must maintain 6 feet social distance at all times
  • Admission to courthouses is limited to maintain social distancing
  • Attorneys and jurors with badges may bypass triage and go directly to weapons screening
  • Attorneys to provide names of parties, witnesses, court reporters, and interpreters to the courtroom a day prior to their attendance
  • Hand sanitizer is available at several locations
  • Plexiglass has been installed in courtrooms as needed
  • Courtrooms are cleaned every evening and during lunch breaks when possible
  • Cleaning supplies and gloves are available upon request

Jury Selection

  • Civil jury panels will include 40 prospective jurors per panel
  • Modified jury selection:
    • Jury selection might occur in a different courtroom than where the jury trial will be conducted
      • Voir dire of all jurors will be done in one courtroom where space allows
        • If space is limited, voir dire may be done in rounds. Live broadcasting will allow each round to see and hear all voir dire questioning
      • To maintain social distancing, jurors will be seated throughout the jury box and gallery to maintain social distancing

Public Access and Livestream

  • Limited seating available; please discuss courtroom capacity with the judicial officer
  • Live streaming via YouTube available
    • Jurors will not be displayed at any time

Witness Testimony

  • Witnesses may be allowed to remove their face covering or use party-provided clear face shield during testimony
    • Witnesses will usually testify from the witness stand
    • Interpreters should consider utilizing equipment to support social distancing. Interpreters will not be allowed to stand closer than 6 feet to the parties.

Exhibit Presentation

  • Trial and exhibit notebooks still must be delivered to the department pursuant to Local Rule 317
  • Disposable gloves will be provided upon request to handle original exhibit items


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