Resumption of In-Person Court Proceedings
SALT LAKE CITY COURTHOUSE OPERATIONAL STATUS
- On April 1, 2021, the court will move to Phase 2 of the plan to resume in-person court operations. With the transition to Phase 2, in-person criminal jury trials will begin on April 29, 2021 and regular Grand Jury proceedings will resume. Civil jury trials are continued through June 30, 2021. Most court proceedings will continue to be held remotely, but, at the discretion of each judge, they may be held in-person for:
- critical hearings in criminal cases. Critical hearings generally include initial appearances, detention hearings, motions to suppress and other evidentiary hearings, changes of plea, and sentencings;
- critical hearings in civil cases (after a party files a motion to appear in person); and
- critical bench trials.
- The court remains committed to performing its vital work and minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure at the courthouse.
- The court is constantly monitoring the situation and will consider the number of COVID-19 infections locally, the 14-day rolling average, the COVID-19 positivity rate, and the availability of hospital beds, including ICU capacity, before modifying in-person court operations.
- The court will make an announcement when conditions permit further increasing or limiting in-person operations.
ACCESS TO HEARINGS
- Persons granted electronic access to hearings are reminded of the general prohibition against photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings. Violation of these prohibitions may result in sanctions.
- Members of the media are permitted to attend in-person hearings, as space allows, or may observe or listen by telephone or video. To obtain access to a hearing, please check the case docket in PACER, the court's daily calendar, or contact the chambers of the judge conducting the hearing.
IN-PERSON CRITICAL HEARINGS PROCEDURE
- If a judge determines that your hearing should occur in-person rather than by videoconference or teleconference, they will enter a notice for an in-person hearing.
- If you want to opt out of an in-person hearing, file a “Motion to Opt Out of In-Person Hearing,” showing a reasonable basis to opt out and stating whether other parties have stipulated to your motion.
- If you do not receive a notice of in-person hearing but want an in-person hearing, file a “Motion Requesting In-Person Hearing,” showing a reasonable basis to opt in and stating whether other parties have stipulated to your motion.
- Please reference General Orders 20-026, 20-029, and 21-003 for further requirements related to motions on critical hearings. As always, please direct questions to the chambers of the judge presiding over your case.
REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER THE SALT LAKE CITY COURTHOUSE
- You must comply with all the following COVID-19 requirements.
- You will be required to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, sanitize your hands, and stay at least 6’ away from others. You may enter the courthouse only if all the following are true:
1. You have not, in the past 14 days:
- tested positive for COVID-19; or
- suspected that you have had COVID-19.
2. You have not, in the past 14 days, had close contact with someone who:
- has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days; or
- is suspected to have had COVID-19.
3. You do not unexpectedly have any of the following symptoms:
fever or chills
shortness of breath
muscle or body aches
new loss of taste or smell
congestion or runny nose
nausea or vomiting
4. If you tested positive for COVID-19 more than 14 days ago, you may enter if:
- your symptoms have improved; and
- it has been at least 24 hours since you had a fever (without using fever-reducing medication); and
- your medical provider has not told you to stay away from others for a longer period.
If you are required to appear for a court proceeding or have an appointment at the Salt Lake City Courthouse but do not meet the entry requirements, please contact the Clerk’s Office immediately at 801-524-6100 to make alternate arrangements.
PHASES FOR RESUMING IN-PERSON OPERATIONS AT THE SALT LAKE CITY COURTHOUSE
- As referenced in General Order 20-021 at 3-4, the court has adopted a plan for phased resumption of in-person proceedings based largely on guidance from the Administrative Office of the United States and national and local health agencies. A summary of the phases is below:
- Phase 1: resume critical Grand Jury proceedings and critical in-person hearings and bench trials, at the judge’s discretion. Critical hearings generally include initial appearances, detention hearings, motions to suppress and other evidentiary hearings, changes of plea, and sentencings.
- Phase 2: resume full Grand Jury function; in-person hearings will be available in all criminal and civil cases (though the use of teleconference and video hearings will continue as deemed appropriate by the judge in each case). During this phase, the courthouse will be able to accommodate only one criminal jury trial at a time. The Chief Judge will determine the order of priority for criminal jury trials.
- Phase 3: full resumption of criminal trials. Once any backlog in criminal cases is sufficiently addressed, full civil trials may resume.
- Phase 4: lift all restrictions on in-person court activities and resume bar-related and public events at the Salt Lake City Courthouse.