Priority 1 Court Business and Reopening Connecticut
The coronavirus pandemic has upended much of society. Schools have closed, many businesses are limited and a lot of people are stuck at home. Courts in Connecticut have also been affected. While they are not completely closed, many locations are--the G.A. criminal courts are closed, some judicial districts have been merged and only two juvenile courts are serving the entire state. The only types of cases being heard are "Priority 1" matters, which include domestic violence arraignments, in-custody arraignments, orders of temporary custody and restraining orders. I happen to handle all of those types of cases, so while much of my work is being continued, I've still had some court appearances recently.
Cases that don't fall into Priority 1 status are being continued automatically by the courts. I've had criminal cases already pushed out into June and July. Juvenile courts aren't scheduling case conferences or docketing short calendar motions. They will likely be scheduled later.
Gov. Lamont's civil preparedness and emergency order is still in effect but may be winding down soon. As of today (5/1), Connecticut has seen a decline in net hospitalizations for nine straight days. That's great news. The governor said that restrictions will begin to be lifted and some businesses will be permitted to reopen beginning May 20 if the trends continue. While this is great news, care needs to be taken to that there aren't any major spikes in infections. So the reopening will likely be careful and gradual.
Judicial has not yet issued a reopening plan but it will probably follow later in the statewide plan. Courts are public places and also somewhat crowded and cramped, so it is unlikely they will open up rightaway. But they will reopen and cases will resume. Courts will also expect things to be ready. If you have any kind of case, now is the time to resume thinking about it. Even if courts aren't back to normal, there will probably be systems in place to start discussing and moving cases.
The state considers attorneys essential. I've been working mostly from home and discussing cases over the phone. If you have one, call or email me to talk about it.