Rule 3-19. Emergency Modified Court Operations

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Rule 3-19. Emergency Modified Court Operations

   The following rule has been jointly adopted by the County Court, District Court, and Separate Juvenile Court in Lancaster County, Nebraska, and sets out the procedures governing emergency modified court operations in this district.

   1. Emergency modified court operations will be implemented when an emergency exists, arises, or is declared that substantially impairs the ability of the courts to operate or that jeopardizes the health and safety of persons who work in or utilize the courts in a manner that cannot otherwise be managed without significant modifications to court operations.

   2. The decision to implement emergency modified court operations as well as the decision to return to normal operations will be made collectively by the presiding judges of the District Court, County Court, and Separate Juvenile Court of Lancaster County (the “Emergency Committee”) after consultation with the judges of those courts and, when appropriate, consultation with public health and safety partners which may include, but is not limited to, Emergency Management, Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and state/local law enforcement agencies.

   3. In addition to the judges, other stakeholders to be included in any planning and implementation of modified court operations may include, but is not limited to: the Clerk of the District Court, the Clerk of the County Court, District Court Administrator, County Court Administrator, Juvenile Court Administrator, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, including courthouse security personnel, Lincoln Police Department, Lancaster County Board of Commissioners, Lincoln/Lancaster County Building Commission, Lancaster County Corrections, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, Lancaster County Attorney, Lancaster County Public Defender, Lincoln City Attorney, Lancaster County Youth Detention Center, Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Probation Administration, Emergency Management, State and Local Information Services.

   This list of stakeholders is not exhaustive. Others may be added and/or consulted as the need arises.

   4. It will be the duty of the presiding judge of the District Court to coordinate and facilitate communication with the group of justice stakeholders to develop and implement any emergency modified court operations plan. This single point of contact for facilitating and coordinating information and communication is intended to streamline efforts to develop and implement any necessary modifications to court services, communicate those modifications to stakeholders, as well as to plan, implement, and communicate when normal operations may resume.

   5. Any modified court operations plan will, at a minimum, consider and address the following mission essential functions:

   a. District and County Court arraignments, including those for people in custody;

   b. District and County Court bond reviews, including those for people in custody;

   c. Appointment of counsel;

   d. Protection orders, including how applicants will apply and how to hold hearings;

   e. Ex parte motions;

   f. Clerk’s accepting/processing new cases and new pleadings;

   g. Pleas and sentencings, including for those who are in custody;

   h. Landlord/Tenant cases;

   i. Probate and adoption cases;

   j. Civil and criminal jury trials in District and County Court;

   k. Processing probable cause affidavits;

   l. Processing arrest/search warrants;

   m. Juvenile emergency custody/detention hearings;

   n. Providing public access to the courts;

   o. Receipt, deposit, and accounting for money paid to the court;

   p. Appeals;

   q. Habeas Corpus petitions;

   r. Injunctions;

   s. Mental Health Board proceedings;

   t. Establishment and enforcement of child support; and

   u. Competency hearings.

   6. When emergency modified court operations are implemented or discontinued, court users and the public will be notified by the presiding judge of the District, County, and Juvenile Court issuing notice and copies of the modified court operations plans to:

   a. Local print and broadcast media,

   b. The Nebraska Bar Association,

   c. The Lincoln Bar Association,

   d. The Administrative Office of the Courts and Probation,

   e. The Clerks of the District and County Courts,

   f. By posting in the Hall of Justice,

   g. State and local law enforcement agencies,

   h. County Corrections, Juvenile Detention, and Nebraska Department of Correctional Services,

   i. Local Adult and Juvenile Probation,

   j. And by any other means likely to reach those in need of such information.

Rule 3-19 approved March 16, 2022.