CT Coronavirus: Updates On Jury Duty, Divorce Hearings

·4 min read

CONNECTICUT — There is still a chance that when you check your mail you may see a summons for jury duty. And how many times have we wanted to ignore that summons, well now you can and it's legal to do so.

The Connecticut Judicial Branch posted this message this week explaining what to do with summonses for jury duty currently.

"Notwithstanding the fact that our jury system still sends out jury summonses, all jury service is suspended until further notice. If you have been summoned for jury duty, please be advised that your service has been cancelled and that you should not report."

The judicial branch also announced a series of updates and an attempt to get back as close to normal as possible.

Connecticut’s Supreme and Appellate courts – in an effort to continue hearing cases amid the pandemic -- will hear arguments remotely in April and May, respectively.

The Supreme Court will begin hearing cases remotely on Monday, April 27. The case assignment for the Supreme Court will be available on the Judicial Branch’s website no later than Tuesday, April 21. It is expected that the Supreme Court will remotely hear two cases per day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the weeks of April 27 and May 4. Audio recordings of these oral arguments will be available to the public on the Judicial Branch’s website following the argument.

Audio is typically available to the public shortly after the conclusion of the argument. The Appellate Court will begin hearing cases remotely beginning Monday, May 11. The case assignment for the Appellate Court will be available no later than Tuesday, May 5, on the Judicial Branch’s website.

It is expected that the Appellate Court will remotely hear three cases per day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday the weeks of May 11, May 18, and May 25. The Appellate Court will not hear cases on Memorial Day, May 25. Audio recordings of Appellate Court oral arguments will be available to the public beginning on May 11 on the Judicial Branch’s website.

“This plan allows the Supreme and Appellate courts to hear oral arguments while at the same time reducing the physical footprint in our courthouses, thus reducing the possibility of anyone contracting COVID-19,” Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson said. “I am appreciative of all of the work that has gone into this plan, so that the Supreme and Appellate courts may continue to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities."

Statement from Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III Addressing Divorces, Civil Matters

"As I have stressed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the CT Judicial Branch has concentrated its efforts on mitigating the spread of the virus, keeping our workforce, Judges and the public, safe and healthy and focusing our work on handling only those Priority 1 matters that must be addressed. With the input of our Chief Administrative Judges and under the leadership of Deputy Chief Court Administrator Elizabeth A. Bozzuto, we are now able to expand the scope of our work to include certain matters other than “Priority 1” matters. Our goal is to incrementally increase the volume of court work that can be handled by Judges and court staff.

"Key to this initiative is the ability to process, review and/or resolve matters remotely. We will concentrate initially on civil and family cases. With civil matters, almost all documents are e-filed, making it much simpler for a clerk or judge to take action. We anticipate that our judges and clerks will have the ability to act on various matters, including, but not limited to: completing and issuing decisions in cases that were previously argued or submitted and processing other matters on the papers filed rather than requiring parties to appear in court.

Regarding family matters, we have identified two areas that may be addressed remotely: 1) Approval of joint petitions for non-adversarial divorce; and 2) entering court orders regarding requests for approval of temporary agreements, without a court appearance.

Our judges and staff will start addressing these civil and family matters within days. I appreciate the invaluable input from our judges and court clerks on this initiative, and I am very grateful for the patience of the bar and public as we work our way through this unprecedented situation."

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch

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